Powerful winds batter NYC as Isaias continues to rage

Powerful winds from Tropical Storm Isaias began battering New York City and the surrounding areas Tuesday afternoon, sending heavy debris flying through the streets of Lower Manhattan, downing trees and knocking out power for tens of thousands of New Yorkers and more than a million New Jersey residents.

The winds picked up in the city soon after 1 p.m. Tuesday as Isaias barreled toward the five boroughs from the south, leaving a path of destruction in its wake as tornadoes reportedly touched down near the Jersey shore and tractor-trailers were blown of the road in Delaware.

Gales were expected to pick up in strength as the storm drew closer to the Big Apple because of a boost from warm air in the Jet Stream that could merge with winds from the storm, CBS News reported.

The air from the Jet Stream could send a jolt of energy into the storm and create wind gusts of above 80 mph in the coastal areas near the city Tuesday afternoon.

In Lower Manhattan, the winds sent an Aquafence used to block flood waters from buildings blowing into the street near the Whitehall Street station.

The hefty barrier crashed into the back of a car near the subway stop, shattering the vehicle’s rear windshield.

Power outages also spread across the Tri-state as the winds raged.

In New Jersey, more than 1.4 million homes and businesses went dark — about one-quarter of the state’s the utility customers, according to NJ.com.

Officials there said it could be days before power is completely restore, the outlet reported.

And more than ConEdison customers had lost juice in the five boroughs as of 2:20 p.m, according to numbers from the utility. The hardest-hit borough was Staten Island, with nearly more than 27,000 of its 180,000 customers there in the dark.

First responders were investigating a huge tree collapse in Jamaica at about 1 p.m., that smashed into a white van on 84th Drive, authorities said. It’s unclear if anyone was killed by the felled tree, but the fire department said they were responding to a call of “trauma.”

In the Rockaways, residents prepared for the worst as the storm approached the peninsula ravaged by Superstorm Sandy eight years ago.

“I’m nervous. The wind is too much. It can take down one of these light poles. If that happens we might not have electricity for days,” said cab driver Chijioke Ikejemba, 48, who lives at the corner of Beach Chanel Drive and McBride Street in Far Rockaway.

“I’m not working today,” said the cabbie. “I’m losing money but my life is more important.”

Additional reporting by Craig McCarthy

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