New Jersey is cleaning up from Wednesday night's strong thunderstorms as the effects of Hurricane Arthur begin to have an effect on the state.

LIghtning flashes over the Shark River in Neptune City looking towards Wall (Donald Colarusso)

Mother Nature's fireworks show on Wednesday evening flooded highways and left 50,000 customers in the dark across the state at its peak

More storms developed on Thursday morning in Hunterdon, Morris, Somerset and Warren counties that moved to the northeast, a preview of more storms popping up throughout the day.

 

While most have had their power restored,  1,771 PSE&G customers, mostly in Essex and Union are still powerless according to the utility's outage map at 8:20 a.m. Atlantic City Electric reports over 3,145 customers without power in Camden, Salem and Cumberland counties.

A fire blamed on a lightning strike burns in Beachwood (Riverside Signal)

Lightning strikes are also being blamed for several house fires across the state. Several families were left homeless in the Wyckoff Mills condo complex in Hightstown according to the Times of Trenton while 6 ABC reports a home in Edgewater Park in Burlington County was struck by lightning.  The Record reports lightning is being blamed for fires in Mahwah, Hasbrouck Heights and Wood-Ridge while  The Riverside Signal reports an abandoned home was struck in Beaachwood.

Meteorologist Alan Kasper says Thursday will be another hot and humid day with temperatures heading back around 90 degrees again. The entire state is under a Flash Flood Watch as a cold front expected to stall out over New Jersey will interact with moisture from Hurricane Arthur as it moves up the coast producing 1-3 inches of heavy rain. Streams and creeks already swollen from Wednesday's rain could overflow and areas of poor drainage could easily flood according to Kasper, who says the rain will end on Friday afternoon.

Many communities with fireworks scheduled for Thursday and Friday are postponing their display to Saturday or Sunday including Lakewood and Ocean Township in Monmouth County.

Satellite image of Hurricane Arthur early Thursday morning (NHC)

Arthur strengthened into a hurricane early Thursday with sustained winds near 75 mph with some additional strengthening expected. Hurricane warnings on the coast of North Carolina have been extended and now cover an area from Surf City to the Virginia border. Arthur is centered about 340 miles southwest of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, and is moving north near 9 mph.

Kasper expects Arthur to pass over the Outer Banks late Thursday night and speed out to sea. Besides the heavy rain, New Jersey will also have gusty winds and a rough surf along the shore that will linger through the weekend.

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Dino Flammia contributed to this report.

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