Nearly a third of a million people in New Jersey were without power following powerful thunderstorms that brought the heat wave to a close on Monday evening.

NJ 101.5 Chief Meteorologist Dan Zarrow said around 8 p.m. that the worst of the worst had moved offshore, but left behind lots of wind damage and flooding problems.

An unconfirmed 75 mph wind gust was reported to the National Weather Service at Wrightstown. Ping pong ball-size hail was reported in Franklin Lakes and Oakland in Bergen County.

The NWS had also taken about 60 wind damage reports through the storm.

RLS Metro Breaking News reported a lightning strike damaged a pole on Morris Avenue near the Kean University campus in Union.

New Jersey Fast Traffic reports many fallen trees on the Garden State Parkway in Tinton Falls, Route 18 in Marlboro, Route 1 in Edison and Route 9 in Freehold.

Route 27 in Woodbridge was heavily flooded, according to New Jersey 101.5 audience member  John Iacouzzi, who snapped this image:

Route 27 in Woodbridge (Courtesy of John Iacouzz)

As of about 8:45 p.m., the state DOT reported flooding on the New Jersey Turnpike north of Exit 11, a downed tree on the Garden State Parkway northbound entering at Exit 98, and several more downed trees and wires on roads throughout the state. Earlier in the evening, TapInto reported Route 22 in North Plainfield was shut down because of flooding as well.

RLS media reported emergency responders rescued several people trapped in cars by flooding throughout Middlesex County.

As of about 9 .m., service on NJ Transit’s Atlantic City Line was suspended in both direction between Lindenwold and Cherry Hill due to a downed tree across the tracks near Lindenwold.

Stump Tavern Road, Jackson (Courtesy of Pam Huxford)

New Jersey 101.5 audience member Josie Piccolella said she saw "a tornado-like wind" near the Pandora Diner on Route 206 in Mount Holly. New Jersey 101.5 has not yet confirmed any reports of tornadoes in that area, however.

Zarrow said 50 to 60 mph winds cut through parts of Camden, Burlington, Mercer, Ocean and Monmouth counties, though he hadn't seen reports suggesting any tornadoes.

As of 9:15 p.m. more than 355,000 JCP&L, PSE&G and Atlantic City Electric customers were without power, according to their respective outage maps.

  • 252,199 JCP&L customers were without power mostly in Burlington (Pemberton Township), Monmouth (Aberdeen, Belmar, Brielle, Freehold Township, Howell, Manalapan, Marlboro,  Middletown, Ocean Township and Tinton Falls) and Ocean  (Brick, Jackson and Lakewood) counties.
  • 93,199 PSE&G customers were without power mostly in Burlington (Bordentown,  Burlington Township, Edgewater Park, Southampton and Willingboro), Camden (Camden, Cherry Hill and Collingswood), Mercer (Hamilton, Lawrence, Robbinsville and Trenton) and Middlesex (Edison, New Brunswick and Plainsboro) counties.
  • 9,485 Atlantic City Electric customers were without power, mostly in Atlantic (EHT and Pleasantville), Camden (Clementon and Pine Hill) and Salem (Penns Grove and Salem) counties.

JCP&L spokesman Cliff Cole said around 8:30 p.m. that the utility’s crews were out and assessing the damage in order to begin making repairs.

“They’re making repairs as they get out there and see what can be done. The storms came in quickly and vigorously. It’s challenging but our folks are out there doing what they need to do to restore the power safely and as quickly as possible,” Cole said.

Cole had no estimate as to when power would be restored.

Several communities provide cooling centers residents can use during power outages or when they're otherwise unable to get to cool locations. New Jersey's 211 line also connects residents with emergency and community resources.

Monmouth County Sheriff Shaun Golden told New Jersey 101.5 that the outage is the worst since Superstorm Sandy.

“We have half our county out of power with 135,000 out of 288,000 customers,” Golden told New Jersey 101.5 late Monday evening. The outages prompted the county to open it’s emergency operations center, which puts its first-responders, emergency management co-ordinators, public works and JCP&L under one roof.

Golden said the hardest-hit areas seem to be in the lower part of the county in a swath roughly along Route 195 from Millstone and Upper Freehold to Howell, Wall, Belmar, Lake Como and Tinton Falls.

“We have some towns which are totally without power,” Golden said.

He said the county communications center received 3,300 calls in the first hour after the storm hit around 6:20 p.m. for EMS needs, trees into homes and reports of poles and wires down.

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Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNJ

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