NEW YORK — Just when New Jersey residents thought it was safe to go outside again, two tornadoes struck the Garden State on Tuesday morning, knocking out power to thousands, snarling rush hour traffic and damaging the Quaker Bridge Mall.

Although the mall, located north of Trenton in Lawrenceville, sustained no damage from last week’s hurricane Isabel, severe winds and rain, apparently part of a tornado, passed through the area at 8:30 a.m., downing trees and causing some roof damage to the center, according to John Ferreira, the general mall manager. The only store to close, he said, was a Gap unit flooded by a deluge of water from the mall’s roof. In addition, Gap’s downstairs neighbors Kids Foot Locker and Whitehall Jewelers sustained minimal damage.

Ferreira said the mall’s traffic levels by the afternoon were “pretty brisk, as if nothing ever happened,” but said the cleanup at the mall would take a few days.

The mall, which is managed by Kravco Co., is a 1.2 million-square-foot regional shopping center with a Lord & Taylor, Macy’s, Sears and J.C. Penney as well as more than 130 specialty stores and restaurants. There were no indications of damage to the anchors.

More than 50,000 customers lost power in central and southern New Jersey as the storm struck the western edge of the state shortly after 8 a.m. and moved swiftly toward the coast.

Ingrid Jones, Gap’s manager, said water accumulated at the store’s front entrance and didn’t damage any merchandise. She said she wasn’t sure if the store would reopen Wednesday.

Steve Morring, the manager of Kids Foot Locker, said the store opened a little late because of congested traffic and there was slight water damage on the carpet near the front of the store. “I thought it could have been worse,” he said.

Mare Schaffer, manager of American Eagle Outfitters, said the store opened on time and the foot traffic was fairly steady. “We come in early and the storm happened after [the staff] was here,” she said.

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