Strong thunderstorms swept across Long Island on Friday afternoon, downing trees and power lines, snarling the rush hour commute and leaving nearly 19,000 homes and businesses without power.
The National Weather Service issued a severe thunderstorm watch through 9 p.m. Friday for Nassau and Suffolk counties as well as New York City and parts of upstate New York.
Downed trees forced the temporary closure of Community Drive in Manhasset, as well as lanes on parts of the Northern State Parkway and Sunrise Highway. Flooding on the Long Island Expressway also caused traffic congestion.
Long Island Rail Road service was suspended between the Atlantic Terminal in Brooklyn and the Jamaica station. The LIRR also reported delays on 10 of their 11 branches, except for the Far Rockaway line. Some peak trains were canceled on the Port Washington line.
LIPA reported more than 18,700 of their 1.1 million customers affected by outages as of about 4 p.m. while the utility worked to restore service.
The torrential downpours did at least cool off the region amid a record-breaking heat wave that began Wednesday, the first day of summer. Temperature in the 90s for the past three days dropped down to 72 late Friday afternoon.
The weather is expected to clear up after the storm watch is lifted this evening. Saturday is forecast to be partly sunny with highs near 85 and a 20-percent chance of showers. Sunday is expected to be mostly sunny with highs near 80 and a 40-percent chance of showers after sundown.
Forecasters predict it will be mostly clear next week with temps in the 60s and 70s through next Friday.