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Fast-moving storms race across LI, causing damage, outages

Downed trees and power outages were caused by a powerful storm that moved across Long Island on Saturday. Credit: Stringer News

Powerful storms raced across Long Island on Saturday afternoon, downing trees, causing power outages, and sparking reports of damage to buildings and cars.

The fast-moving storms, ahead of a cold front, swept from west to east at over 50 mph at times, producing high winds, rain, and in some locations, hail. There were no reported injuries in Suffolk or in Nassau counties.

The National Weather Service had issued tornado warnings in both counties as the storms moved through. The weather service said local meteorologists will be able to confirm whether a tornado actually touched down after assessing damage in the field and matching that up with their in-house data Sunday.

As of 8:30 p.m. Saturday, PSEG Long Island's outage map showed 330 active outages affecting 7,779 customers. The outages spanned the Island, from Woodmere in southwest Nassau to Orient on Suffolk's North Fork.

"A severe thunderstorm has come through and it caused tree branches to come down on wires. We have additional crews available to restore outages safely and as quickly as possible," said Elizabeth Flagler, a spokesperson for PSEG Long Island.

Chipotle Mexican Grill along with other businesses located at a strip mall on Montauk Highway in Shirley sustained extensive damage.

C U Nails manager Sofia Zheng, 30, was inside her salon several stores away from the Chipotle when the skies darkened and the weather suddenly began to turn around 4 p.m. "There was a lot of wind and heavy rain. It happened very quick. We heard boom, boom, boom. All the customers were scared and worried."

Zheng said she believes the roof of the salon was damaged.

Suffolk County police said they had several 911 reports of downed trees and wires, including on Wading River Road and North Street in Manorville, Mayfield Drive in Mastic, and Park Avenue in Shirley.

Suffolk police also said several parked planes were overturned at Brookhaven Calabro Airport in Shirley.

Nassau County police said there were no major weather-related incidents reported as of Saturday night.

Someone tweeted photos of a wrecked car under a toppled tree, listing the location as Levittown.

At least two high school football playoff games were stopped. The Half Hollow Hills East – Bellport Suffolk Division II football semifinal was postponed late in the fourth quarter. The game will be resumed at 10 a.m. Sunday in Bellport.

Another game, between Ward Melville and Walt Whitman in West Hills, was halted in the third quarter. That game later resumed.

There was calmer and colder weather behind the front.

"The conditions have dried out and temperatures are falling a bit," said Dominic Ramunni, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service.

As the colder air settles in over Long Island, overnight lows in the 30s will give way to only slightly higher temperatures Sunday, into the 40s to low 50s.

Another chance of rain could come Sunday night into Monday morning, with more gusty winds, meteorologists say.

The colder temperatures are expected to last through the week, with clear skies and another chance of rain on Thursday.

With Jordan Lauterbach

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