Superstorm strikes East Coast: At least 300,000 without power after TORNADO sweeps through New York as torrential rain and hail batter eastern seaboard
Residents of New York City battened down the hatches on Thursday night as a ferocious storm hit the city with howling winds, thunder and torrential rain.
Hundreds of flights were canceled and at least 300,000 homes suffered power cuts in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut after warnings of tornadoes, severe thunderstorms, hail and hurricane-strength winds along the East Coast.
As of 7pm (EDT), 842 flights in the U.S. had been grounded with LaGuardia Airport in New York the worst affected with 162 planes unable to take off.
A tornado touched down in the city of Elmira, in north-west New York State, at 4.15 pm local time causing a state of emergency.
Fires broke out, buildings were damaged and power lines downed but no injuries were reported. There were some reports of drivers trapped in vehicles.
Around 32 million people were directly in the path of the storm including those in and around New York City, according to the Storm Prediction Center.
Skies darkened over Manhattan around 6pm with heavy downpours on the island and in the Bronx first, then rolling across Staten Island, Queens and Brooklyn.
Winds of up to 60mph were being reported on the Hudson’s Tappan Zee Bridge but the worst was expected to be over by 10pm.
Westchester County and parts of Connecticut were hardest hit with downed trees and damaged power lines.
Forecasters upgraded the tri-state area to ‘moderate risk’ today, with New York City having ‘unusually high chance’ of tornadoes.
The outbreak threatened to be as bad as the derecho which left millions without powers for days in Washington, D.C. last month.
Authorities evacuated campsites across New York State. The Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation encouraged those in trailers, recreational vehicles and cabins to leave ten sites in the Allegany and Niagara regions of western New York and the Taconic and Palisades regions to the east.
Conservation officials were also advising campers in the Catskills and southern Adirondacks to seek shelter.
Batten down the hatches: The sky darkens over Arnot Mall in Big Flats, NY. Severe weather warnings have been issued along the East Coast
Utilities report about 10,000 customers with power outages in Steuben and Allegany counties.
The severe weather pattern made its way across the Midwest with forecasters predicting adverse conditions in Columbus, Cincinnati and Pittsburgh.
Towns across eastern Ohio, western Pennsylvania and upstate New York also reported downed trees, according to the Storm Prediction Center.
Derecho: Severe thunderstorms are predicted for Chicago and Philadelphia, with tornado watches along the Eastern Seaboard
Tornado warnings were in effect for most of New York State, Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont, including areas surrounding New York City.
JFK International Airport was already redirecting flights to nearby Newark.
Flights were currently delayed up to 90 minutes at JFK with Newark also reporting two-hour delays.
New York’s LaGuardia Airport is experiencing delays of 90 minutes. Travellers in Philadelphia were being delayed one hour
EYE OF THE STORM: WHO WILL BE AFFECTED BY TONIGHT’S TEMPEST?
It is estimated that 63million people from Iowa to New England will be hit by the storm.
Thunderstorm warnings were issued in Ohio, Pennsylvania and New York. The storm will also effect Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, West Virginia, Virginia, Delaware, Connecticut and Vermont.
There were tornado warnings for Ithica, New York and severe thunderstorm warnings for New York City.
The storm system has put a major wrench in travel plans, with up to two hour delays reported at New York airports – JFK, La Guardia and Newark.
Winds of 60 miles an hour, large hail, isolated tornadoes and torrential rain was expected in the next few hours in the mid-Hudson Valley region.
Across New England and the Midwest, up to five inches of rain was expected.
New York City was hit by a freak storm two weeks ago which brought flash floods and booming thunderstorms.
Subway stations were shut down as water submerged tracks leaving many commuters stranded.
Severe thunderstorms threatened Ohio and the lower northeast while areas from the upper Great Lakes and the Mid-Mississippi Valley northeastward to southern New England were at risk for severe weather development.
Elsewhere, hot and humid conditions coupled with continued instability led to chances of showers and thunderstorms along the eastern and central Gulf Coast.
Monsoonal moisture and daytime heating will kick up areas of showers and thunderstorms in the Central and Southern Rockies through the afternoon and evening.
Temperatures in the Lower 48 states yesterday ranged from a morning low of 35 degrees at Stanley, Idaho to a high of 107 degrees at Olney-Noble, Illinois.
While the Eastern Seaboard and much of the Midwest is being drenched, the rest of the country is suffering a debilitating drought. Many areas of middle Georgia are suffering exceptional drought conditions.