WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. -- Within seconds of leaving work at Macy's in the Galleria Mall after 7 p.m. Thursday, Dana Weaver said the rain went from a light drizzle to a whirlwind that turned her umbrella inside-out.
Weaver was walking to her N. Broadway home when heavy winds hit, driving the Estee Lauder counter worker at Macy's into the Starbucks across the street.
"I knew there was a severe thunderstorm watch, but I didn't know it would come so fast," said Weaver, while trying to restore her umbrella to its natural position.
As of 8 p.m. Con Edison was reporting approximately 2,461 customers were without power, including 24 White Plains residents. The estimated restoration time was 2 a.m. Friday.
The National Weather Service issued a severe thunderstorm warning until 11 p.m. The storms, the alert says, could produce quarter sized hail and destructive winds in excess of 70 mph. The chance of precipitation is 100 percent.
The fast-moving storm, officials say, could knock down trees and power lines and cause outages. The same storms are believed responsible for a possible tornado in Elmira, NY. Gov. Andrew Cuomo issued a statement late Thursday saying there were at least 20,000 customers without power due to the powerful storms.
The National Weather Service advises people that these are dangerous storms and for those outside to move to inside.
"If you can hear thunder, you are close enough to be struck by lightning," according to the National Weather Service website. "Damaging winds up to 60 miles per hour were reported at the Tappan Zee Bridge with these storms."
White Plains Public Safety Commissioner David Chong advises residents to report any down wires or trees to the Department of Public Safety, and to call 911 if there is a fire or police or medical emergency.
"Please stay off the roads and don't drive during the height of the storm," Chong said. "The roads should be clear so that first responders can get to people who need help."
Chong had the following tips for residents during the storm:
- Secure loose outdoor furniture and yard decorations that can be blown projectiles from high winds.
- Garage vehicles after filling them up with gas if possible.
- Ensure that all window screens are secure and windows are closed during high winds. If a window breaks from high winds, get out of the room until the wind stops blowing.
- Clear area drains around the gutters and the house where water tends to pool. Ensure that you have a few gallons of water stored, working flashlights, battery operated radio and extra batteries.
- If there are downed wires, assume that they are live. Do not go near downed wires.
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