Thousands lose power as heavy rain, wind slam LI

Concerns over the dangers from downed trees occupy Long Islanders' minds as they eye tornado warnings. Videojournalist: Chris Ware (Sept. 18, 2012)

Heavy rain and strong blasts of wind pelted Long Island Tuesday night as Nassau and Suffolk counties were slammed by a powerful storm.

The band of showers and thunderstorms prompted Suffolk officials to issue a tornado warning Tuesday night and a wind advisory that was to expire Wednesday at 6 a.m., officials said.

Tuesday's tornado warning was to remain in effectuntil 10 p.m.

Power outages were reported in both counties because of high winds and downed electric wires. The Long Island Rail Road reported delays on the evening commute because of downed trees.

Streets flooded and winds were expected to top 50 mph. The expected mix of wind and rain made conditions favorable for isolated twisters, said Joey Picca of the National Weather Service in Upton. "Once these storms come through, they can also produce wind gusts," he said, adding, "not widespread, but enough to bring down trees and power lines and heavy rains, making driving hazardous."

Throughout the day and into the evening, the effects of extreme weather were apparent.

Just after 1:45 a.m. Wednesday, LIPA reported 13,845 customers without power in Nassau and Suffolk. Extra crews were on hand to work through the night, the spokeswoman said.

An LIRR train from Penn Station, due in Huntington at 4 p.m., was delayed in Mineola because of downed tree across the tracks east of Mineola, according to a posting on the MTA website.

The LIRR reported that both eastbound and westbound trains on the Ronkonkoma branch ran late due to congestion from the downed tree.

Old Brookville police closed West Shore Road in Mill Neck from Mill Hill Road to Cleft Road and Piping Rock Road in Locust Valley from Frost Pond Road to Chicken Valley Road because of downed power lines.

The state Department of Transportation reported a tree down on the eastbound ramp at Exit 17S on the Southern State Parkway shortly after 5:30 p.m.

Another tree was reported down three hours earlier on McLaughlin Street near Landing Elementary School, Glen Cove, with no injuries, Glen Cove police said.

Arrivals at LaGuardia, Kennedy and Newark Liberty were averaging delays of two to nearly three hours, according to the Federal Aviation Administration website. No weather-related arrival delays were reported at Long Island MacArthur Airport.

Some departures were delayed, and the FAA advised travelers to check with their airlines about Wednesday's flights.

With Bill Bleyer, Zachary R. Dowdy and John Valenti

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