Storm downs trees, knocks out power in South Jersey

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The strong winds sent trees crashing into houses in Camden County. (WPVI)

Utility crews continued working to restore electricity across New Jersey Thursday after a wave of strong storms packing heavy rain and wild wind downed trees and power lines.

A massive tree split in half when it crashed on top of a newly renovated home on Queen Anne Road in Cherry Hill.

The impact was so strong it split the roof and knocked off some of the brick facade.

Uprooted trees could be found everywhere in this part of Camden County.

On the other side of the township, Gerri Sioli never heard her tree crack, fall or crash.

It smashed her neighbor's pickup truck but missed his house. She said that's a miracle.

"It was about 70 feet tall. It was huge," she said. "If I stood at the bottom of it I could look up and see the top. Divine intervention, really, that no one was hurt."

Whipping wind gusts, heavy rainfall and possibly bolts of lightning made trees fall, bringing down power lines in places like Old Orchard Road and Shreeves Lane, and knocking out power and blocking intersections like the one at Morris Drive and Larkspur Road.

"So it's our tree," said Scott and Jordan Keats. "Power went out everywhere, but we have power."

The Keatses say the tree got in the way of their baseball front yard baseball games anyway.

But this damage can prove deadly and costly.

Pat Enright of Enright's Tree Service couldn't help getting sidetracked by damage even on jobs that weren't his.

He told Action News he was getting to every call as fast as he could.

Earlier Thursday PSE&G was reporting 4,637 outages, most of them in Middlesex and Camden counties.

Atlantic City Electric reported 2,152 customers without service, mostly in Gloucester and Atlantic counties.

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A Cumberland County day care suffered damages Wednesday night after a tree fell on the building during a severe thunderstorm.

The loss of electricity and storm damage caused some schools to close or delay opening.

Among them was the All Kids First daycare in Vineland, where a tree crashed through a roof.

It happened around 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at the preschool in the 1300 block of Stewart Street.

Officials say the tree landed in the crib area of the center. The building was closed at the time, and no injuries were reported.

The school would remain closed on Thursday, officials said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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