A powerful storm that battered a large swath of the eastern US, knocking out power across several states and leading to multiple rescues, is delivering its final blow to New England Wednesday. Here’s the latest:
• Widespread power outages amid freezing temperatures: There were more than 600,000 homes and businesses without power across more than a dozen states Wednesday morning, including nearly 145,000 in New York and more than 105,000 in Pennsylvania, according to poweroutage.us. New York Gov. Kathy Hochul said she was concerned about residents not having power Tuesday night amid freezing temperatures.
• Storm turns deadly: At least four deaths were reported in Alabama, Georgia and North Carolina as storms walloped the states with fierce winds and rain.
• Tornado reports and damage left behind: The storm has generated 25 tornado reports across Texas, Alabama, Florida, Georgia and South Carolina since Monday. In South Carolina, “significant damage” from a potential tornado was reported in the city of Bamberg, 60 miles south of Columbia, where the century-old City Hall building collapsed, according to city clerk-treasurer Robin Chavis.
• Storm’s final push: Snow, rain and wind will push out of the Northeast by Wednesday afternoon, but is still hammering Maine and parts of northern New England. The storm’s winds are combining with high tide to push water onto coasts during the morning.
• Swollen waterways fuel flood fears: Multiple rivers were at major flood stage in the eastern US early Wednesday, most of them in the Northeast and mid-Atlantic, including in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, according to the weather service. In Connecticut, the Yantic River was perilously close to hitting a record high level.
• Flights canceled: More than 1,350 flights were canceled and more than 8,700 flights were delayed on Tuesday, according to data from FlightAware. Some of those are due to the grounding of the Boeing 737 Max 9, but thunderstorms caused significant disruptions in Atlanta, Dallas-Fort Worth, Florida and North Carolina airports.
• Dangerous driving conditions: Drivers in parts of New England and the interior Northeast could have a difficult time on the roads, with lingering rain and snow and wind gusts through Wednesday afternoon. In Iowa, a section of Interstate 80 had to be closed down Tuesday afternoon due to whiteout conditions that led to a multi-vehicle crash. In Kansas, around 30 people, including children, got stranded and had to be rescued from vehicles and taken to a high school during blizzard and whiteout conditions Monday.
• Another storm is coming: A storm much like this one is set to hammer many of the same areas with all hazards Friday and Saturday. The storm will take a similar path, meaning severe thunderstorms and tornadoes are once again possible in the Southeast, snow is possible in the Midwest and rain and wind will once again return to the East Coast.
Deaths reported across 3 states
As storms swept through the Southeast with dangerous winds and saturated the ground with rain, authorities reported several deaths across Georgia, Alabama and North Carolina.
A driver was found dead on a highway in Jonesboro, Georgia, Tuesday morning after a tree fell and crushed a vehicle’s front windshield during severe weather. The Clayton County Police Department told CNN the weather appears to be a factor in the death.
Another person died Tuesday in Birmingham, Alabama, after a tree fell on a vehicle, according to Birmingham Fire and Rescue Captain Orlando Reynolds.
The Pacific Northwest also go its dose of crazy weather:
Rescue crews found the person dead in the car with the tree still on top of it Tuesday morning. The area had received over 2 inches of rain saturating the ground and had winds gusting over 30 mph on Tuesday.
Over 210 miles away in Cottonwood, Alabama, an 81-year-old woman was killed during Tuesday’s storm, according to Houston County Commission Chairman Brandon Shoupe.
The woman was found dead after her mobile home was flipped multiple times, Shoupe said. Several buildings were damaged throughout the town and recovery efforts could last “many, many weeks,” Shoupe said.
Travel chaos in Portland:
In North Carolina, one person was killed and two more were critically injured in a mobile home community in Claremont, about 45 miles northwest of Charlotte, according to Amy McCauley, communications director for Catawba County.
The National Weather Service is currently evaluating if it was a tornado that hit the community, McCauley said.
US vice president’s plane diverted because of storm
U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris’s plane, Air Force Two, was diverted on its way back from Atlanta on Tuesday because of weather conditions, her office said.
“Tonight, en route from Atlanta, GA, Air Force 2 was diverted to Dulles International Airport from Joint Base Andrews due to inclement weather,” Harris’s spokesperson, Kirsten Allen, said in a statement.
The plane encountered “wind shear,” according to a source familiar with the incident. Wind shear is a change in wind speed or direction over a short distance, according to the Federal Aviation Administration.
The plane landed safely at Dulles and Harris is now home. TOO BAD!
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