Severe thunderstorms moved across the tristate region, bringing heavy rain, high winds and possible tornadoes that caused power outages Thursday evening.
In the Cobble Hill section of Brooklyn, falling debris at a church killed a 61-year-old man. The FDNY said a lightning bolt may have hit the church steeple, causing some scaffolding to fall and knocking some the debris off the building.
Radar indicated rotation in the storms, New York Weather Authority Nick Gregory said. Ground reports indicated funnel clouds.
Severe storm damage was reported in Elmira -- in Chemung County, N.Y. -- and may have been caused by a tornado, according to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo's Twitter feed. The governor declared a state of emergency in Chemung County.
Cuomo activated the State Emergency Operations Center and said Homeland Security Commissioner Jerome Hauer would be stationed throughout the day and night.
More than 90,000 customers were without power statewide Thursday night, the governor's office said. In the tristate region there were only a few thousand scattered outages by early Friday morning according to local power companies.
The National Weather Service issued many severe weather alerts for dozens of counties in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Pennsylvania. Most of those watches and warnings have expired.
Earlier, the New York City Department of Buildings called on property owners to secure the safety of their buildings and construction sites, including cranes, suspended and supported scaffolding, hoists and any other building appurtenances that may come loose from exposure to high winds.
Officials urged families and individuals to have an emergency kit and an emergency plan in place. The kit should include items such as non-perishable food, water, a portable radio, flashlights and extra batteries.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.