We've witnessed some fairly bonkers weather events these past few days: A Sunday that shuttled back and forth between sun and clouds before finally giving way to very loud and very windy rain by Sunday night, with gusts intense enough to warrant a fleeting tornado watch early Monday morning. The Weather sustained its touchy and tempestuous attitude all day yesterday, throwing us an impressive rainbow, sunshowers, and howling gales. It's been a bizarre moment of deep meteorological ambivalence here in NYC, but our chaos cannot hold a candle to New Jersey's. Across the Hudson River, the streets have erupted in surprise fireball chains—truly, an apocalyptic scene.
The Manchester Police Department posted a fiery dashcam compilation video to its Facebook page, documenting a series of chaotic events that unfolded at the intersection of State Highway 70 and Colonial Drive in Manchester Township. A belligerent thunderstorm pummeled the area in the early hours of Monday morning, creating a sort of sideways-rain tunnel as workers set out traffic cones. In the video, a flash of lightning briefly illuminates the sky, before the arcing transformers take over, raining sparks down onto the street in back-to-back explosions.
According to Captain Todd Malland, those occurred around 4:40 a.m., and likely explain what happened next. Skip ahead to the 50 second mark if you're thirsty for fireballs:
Malland explains that officers returned to the scene around 6:30 a.m. just in time to capture the diciest moment of all. In the video, a worker can be seen attempting to free a downed electrical wire from the top of a traffic light. He reportedly thought the wire had been de-energized, but no: On his third attempt to unhook it from the post, the wire swung to the ground and immediately ignited a string of blazes on contact.
I believe this conflagration is what renowned New Jerseyan Bruce Springsteen had in mind when he sang, "Outside the street's on fire in a real death waltz," but thankfully, in this instance, no one was injured. The worker "narrowly escaped death" in sprinting away from the spreading inferno, and in donning the proper safety gear, according to police. And on that happy note, Bruce, play us out: