Public Service Electric and Gas has pulled its overhead repair crews off the streets overnight due to safety concerns, making it all but certain that no power restoration work would begin until Tuesday morning.
High winds are predicted to pose a major threat to the area starting around midnight with sustained winds of 20 to 30 mph, said Bergen County emergency management director Dwane Razzetti. Gusts could reach 75 mph.
"The big event tonight is going to be wind," he said, adding that even the extreme gusts were lower than early forecasts. Work was not expected to resume until at least 8 a.m. Tuesday, he said.
In a statement Monday night, utility officials said flooding at power substations had caused widespread outages in the area.
"Flooding is affecting electrical substations in North Bergen (on the Hudson River,) Newark (on the Passaic River,) and Sewaren (on the Arthur Kill.) PSE&G is taking these stations out of service until the water recedes and we can safely re-energize the equipment. These stations serve a total of 70,000 customers. The utility will evaluate other substations affected by the storm surge and take appropriate action," the statement said.
Much of the county was without power late Monday.
PSE&G reported at least 120,000 customers, and as many as 200,000, in the dark in Bergen County alone.
Teaneck was one of the hardest hit towns, with most of town without power, officials said.
County police had pre-deployed water rescue teams to flood prone areas, according to Chief Brian Higgins.
County shelters at Bergen Community College and the Lyndhurst senior center were open.
Extreme winds knocked out power to thousands of homeowners in Ridgewood and Glen Rock.
Westwood and Englewood were among several towns to declare state of emergencies.