Category 10 Winds, Along with Intense Squall and Thunderstorms, Create Instant Chaos Across West Essex Tuesday
by Carolyne Volpe Curley / Carolyne@WestEssexNOW.com
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WEST ESSEX, NJ - Late Tuesday afternoon, West Essex was slammed with a storm so strong that many have questioned if we had a tornado come through the area.
While some areas of New York did see tornados touch down, West Essex experienced a brief, but incredibly powerful, Squall with Whole Gale, Category 10, 66mph Winds, which was followed up by equally damaging Thunderstorms.
The violently intense onset was reported by NOAA's Fairfield Weather Station as a Squall - which they define as a "sudden violent gust of wind or a localized storm" - and it began in West Essex at 4:44pm, followed by Thunderstorms which continued until 6:01pm.
In this very short period of time, the Winds, Lightning, and Rain caused a huge amount of damage around the West Essex area.
What follows is a timeline of incidents chronicled as they were reported (not as they occured) to which Police, Fire and DPW crews responded and worked tirelessly to clean up for days:
Tuesday, May 15
Police begin welfare checks of residences, including homes where children are on their own.
Roseland: Eagle Rock Avenue, Methodist Church
By the end of the Storm, over 90 streets which included hundreds of residents, were without power:
Updated: 11:27pm Tuesday
Bloomfield Avenue was opened as of 11:25pm; Claremont Avenue between Valley Road and Noth Mountain Avenue remains closed.
VERONA, NJ - The Verona Police and Verona Fire Department arrived at the scene of Bloomfield Avenue and Sunset Avenue at about 5:35pm after a manhole cover apparently exploded. Bloomfield Avenue was closed for the rest of the evening from Pompton Avenue to Valley Road in Montclair.
PSEG arrived by about 6:15pm to take meter readings at every manhole in the area. Additionally, gas measurements were taken at area building locations.
On Sunday night, West Essex Now reported that PSEG was near that intersection at about 8:40pm, checking on a possible gas leak at a building at 25 Pompton Avenue. The area was investigated and then deemed safe.
A West Essex Now reader was on the scene as it occurred and described the pandemonium the drivers at the intersection experienced:
"We were just driving by Claremont Avenue on Bloomfield Ave
Darlene Rizio Sgarlato works in the area and recalled the loud explosion let off smoke right afterwards.
"You should have heard the noise!" commented Sgarlato.
John Paul Foley, of Roseland, was in the area at about 9:07pm.
"It smelled, something was still smoldering.
Updated: 3:43pm Thursday
WEST CALDWELL, NJ - At 11:50am Thursday, the West Caldwell Police and West Caldwell Fire departments responded to the scene of a home on Westover Avenue. Public Service Gas and Electric (PSEG) had contacted the township after a call came into them from a private contractor who was doing a water main replacement near the home.
According to West Caldwell Police Chief Michael J. Bramhall, the workers did hit a gas line and the police and fire departments responded immediately after they received notification.
PSEG was able to repair the gas leak and there was no need for any evacuations. Westover Avenue will continue to be closed until the water main project is repaired.