A string of severe thunderstorms moved through Connecticut early Wednesday, knocking out power to thousands and tying up traffic through the morning rush hour.

At 8 a.m., Northeast Utilities reported over 43,000 customers had lost power due to lightning strikes. By 10 a.m. that number was down to 33,000. Utilities spokesman Chris Riley said they hoped to have all service restored by 6 p.m.

“What you see is lighting striking our equipment or trees, and the trees will then come down on our distribution lines,” he said.

Storm related accidents involving overturned tractor-trailers caused rush-hour gridlock on Interstate 95 in Stamford and Interstate 84 in Southington.

“The backups have been caused more by people looking at the sights rather than the accidents themselves,” said Sgt. J. Paul Vance, a state police spokesman.

A power outage forced the closure of Manchester High School and Illing Middle School in Manchester.

Lightning strikes also caused several structure fires across the state, Vance said. No injuries were reported.

The storms, which began at about 4 a.m. in western Connecticut, had moved through the state by 8:30 a.m.

–Associated Press