Isaias in New York City halts trains, downs trees, kills 1

NEW YORK (AP) — Tropical Storm Isaias halted commuter trains, closed bridges and sent thousands of tree limbs crashing down Tuesday as it barreled through New York City, leaving more than 2.5 million customers in the tristate area without power.

The fast-moving storm claimed at least one life in New York. Mario Siles, a 60-year-old construction contractor, was sitting in a van parked in the Briarwood section of Queens when a massive Pin Oak came down on top of it around 1 p.m., police said.

By evening, nearly 900,000 homes and businesses in the state were without power, including more than 130,000 in the city and 368,000 on Long Island, utility companies reported. The city’s power utility, Con Edison, said it had more outages from Isaias than from any storm except Superstorm Sandy in 2012. Meteorologists clocked wind gusts as strong as 71 mph (115 kph) in the city and 78 mph (125 kph) on Long Island.

“Unless you absolutely, positively have to be outside, stay inside,” Mayor Bill de Blasio told radio station 1010 WINS. “It’s not a good time to be walking outside. It’s not a good time to be driving outside, if you can avoid it.”

De Blasio said almost 2,000 trees in the city were downed or damaged.

Service was suspended on the Staten Island Ferry for several hours and temporary barriers were set up to protect Wall Street and the famed South Street Seaport from flooding. The storm’s center was about 23 miles (37 kilometers) west of Albany at 5 p.m.

It passed about 60 miles west of New York City near the Pennsylvania-New Jersey at 2 p.m.

Outdoor subway service was stopped because of high winds and debris on tracks. All three commuter train services into and out of Manhattan — New Jersey Transit, Metro-North and the Long Island Rail Road — suspended operations.

Roadways, including the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge linking Staten Island and Brooklyn, were closed for several hours.

A flash flood warning was posted for part of the northern Catskill Mountains, where more than four inches of rain had fallen by evening in some sections. A tornado watch that included the Hudson Valley from Poughkeepsie to Glens Falls expired by the evening.