NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced a state of emergency Monday as winds gusting as high as 90 mph forced the city and Long Island to declare a state of emergency.
Wind gusts reached up to 90 mph on Long Island, the National Weather Service said.
The winds have caused widespread power outages, Cuomo said at a news conference Monday. Power was also knocked out to about 1.2 million customers across New York.
More than 82,000 homes and businesses were without power Monday night, according to the utility company Consolidated Edison.
Cuomo urged residents to use generators sparingly to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning.
The state also asked residents to conserve water to allow for emergency supplies. The state’s reservoirs are already “overstressed,” Cuomo said.
Forecasters say the tornado is now the strongest ever recorded in the area, and it appears that most of the damage is concentrated in Orange and Rockland counties. It was an “unusual” type of tornado, CNN meteorologist Judson Jones said.
Cuomo said 15 to 20 people were injured. A man lost his life after being crushed by a tree blown over by the storm, a spokeswoman for the Westchester County Police said.
The governor said school will be canceled Tuesday across the state.
The mayor of New York City, Bill de Blasio, spoke to reporters Sunday night and advised people to “shelter in place” as the winds hit hard.
Gov. Cuomo said he could see what looked like a tornado-like storm on the ground.
According to local reports, the National Weather Service sent a team to the scene.
“It’s absolutely catastrophic,” said one resident on Long Island. “One of the biggest tornadoes I’ve ever seen.”
Residents at the Riverhead VA center took shelter amid fallen trees and power lines Monday morning. The center is located near a river, CNN affiliate News 12 New York reported.
Across the state line, flood warnings were posted on the waters from Mount Sinai and Northport and the Long Island Sound.
There was flooding in eastern Long Island and in New Jersey’s Somerset County near the border with Connecticut, some residents reported on social media. The governor of New Jersey, Phil Murphy, declared a state of emergency Sunday.