Authorities have issued tornado watches for the New York City  metropolitan area as intense winds and rain and possible severe  thunderstorms bear down on the region.

A tornado watch was issued earlier in the day for the city,  Sullivan, Rockland and Orange counties and all of New Jersey. It  is in effect until 7 p.m. The watch was expanded Tuesday  afternoon to include Westchester, Nassau, Suffolk, Ulster,  Dutchess and Putnam counties in New York and Fairfield County in  Connecticut. Those later tornado watches expire at 11 p.m.

Half-inch-sized hail, dangerous lightning and wind gusts of up to  70 mph are possible with this storm, meteorologists say.

The surging storm system is expected to gain strength throughout  the day, turning into scattered, potentially severe thunderstorms  by the time of the evening commute. Damaging wind gusts of up to  60 mph and isolated tornadoes are possible with these storms,  which may knock down trees and cause power outages.

The storm slowed the evening commute for many. Metro-North  reported delays between Greenwich and Stamford, Conn. as five  trains were stuck on the tracks because trees were down. Earlier,  the Harlem and New Haven lines were slowed because of a downed  tree.

On Long Island, the Long Island Power Authority reported 4,000  without power Tuesday afternoon, with outages reported in Stewart  Manor and Floral Park in Nassau County.

In New Jersey, wind gusts ripped a facade from a tattoo shop on  the Wildwood boardwalk and the top of an old oak tree landed on  the roof of a home in Ridgewood. No injuries were reported in  either incident. A wind advisory is in effect from noon until  midnight for most of the Garden State. Ijn Yonkers, a downed tree  took out a power line, leaving about 30 homes without power.

Along with the powerful wind and isolated tornado potential,  forecasters say blinding downpours are expected to accompany the  thunderstorms, causing street and highway flooding in local  drainage areas. The storm threat continues through the evening  rush hour, so delays are possible.

Low clouds, wind and powerful thunderstorms are likely to cause  delays at area airports, so customers are advised to check with  their carriers before heading out. Newark Airport was reporting  delays of nearly two hours by 11:15 a.m.

The forecast for Tuesday calls for a high of 76 degrees. The  weather looks better Wednesday into the remainder of the week,  with highs in the low-to-mid 70s through Friday and partly or  mostly sunny skies.

Two twisters touched down in New York City earlier this month.  The first went through the Breezy Point section of the Rockaway  peninsula in Queens. The second hit to the northwest, in the  Canarsie section of Brooklyn. No injuries were reported.

Source: NBC NY


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