"Powerful thunderstorms rolled through the New York metro area Monday and brought thousands of lightning strikes that zapped several structures, in some cases igniting fires.
A fire broke out at a retirement condo building in Manalapan, N.J., after lightning struck there. A church in Staten Island and a home in Westport, Conn. were also believed to be hit, and several people were taken to the hospital after a lightning strike at a Connecticut golf course, officials said.
There were numerous other reports of strikes after the storm rumbled through during the morning rush.
At the New Jersey condo, residents said there was a loud pop before they were urged to evacuate.
"We heard a crack," said Gracie Domenico. Shortly after that, Domenico's neighbor, Sarah Semaya, knocked on her door to tell her to get out.
"It was so strange and so fast," said Semaya.
Much of the building's upper floor was lost in the fire.
Forecasters say the amount of lightning seen Monday indicates a very strong storm with a powerful updraft. In Dutchess County, dozens of trees were snapped and debris was tossed so forcefully that weather officials are investigating whether a tornado touched down in that area of Dover."