Powerful storms carrying high winds, torrential rain, and hail slammed heavily populated parts of the U.S. Northeast on Tuesday, knocking over trees that killed two people, snarling transport and causing widespread power outages.
An 11-year-old girl was killed on Tuesday afternoon when strong winds caused a tree to fall on a parked car in Newburgh, New York, the Daily Freeman newspaper in Kingston, N.Y., reported.
A man who had been mowing his lawn and sought refuge in his truck was killed when a tree fell on the vehicle in Danbury, Connecticut, said Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton, according to the Hartford Courant newspaper.
A tornado watch has been issued for parts of Connecticut and Massachusetts until 9 PM EDT pic.twitter.com/QyiA1AxcDz
— NWS Tornado (@NWStornado) May 15, 2018
There were nearly 50 reports of hail in states including Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, and Connecticut, the National Weather Service (NWS) said.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo declared a state of emergency in Putnam, Dutchess, Orange, and Sullivan Counties, and 125 National Guard members were deployed to help remove toppled trees and debris, repair downed power lines, and assist with traffic control across the state, Fox News reported.
“New York has once again withstood the fury of Mother Nature and now is the time for the state and our local partners to get communities throughout the Mid-Hudson region up and running again,” Cuomo said.
Much of the ferocity of the storms had dissipated by 10:30 p.m. ET but flash flood warnings were still in effect for eastern Maryland, Delaware, and southern New Jersey, where rain continued to be heavy, said Frank Pereira, a meteorologist with the NWS.
Hail the size of tennis balls smashed car and house windows in Hartford, Pereira said.
— Suzie Hunter (@TheSuzieHunter) May 15, 2018
Nearly 500,000 customers in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, and Virginia were without power by late Tuesday night, fewer power outages than earlier Tuesday, tracking service PowerOutage.us said.
At Grand Central Station in New York, line service for Hudson, Harlem, and New Haven were suspended due to the storms, the station’s Twitter feed said.
“I got off the subway at about 5:15, and there were hordes of people,” said Jackie Berman, who was attempting to get home to Chappaqua, New York. “It’s a mess.”
More than 500 flights were canceled at the three major airports serving the New York on Tuesday, and more than 100 at Boston’s Logan International, according to tracking service FlightAware.com.
Rain is expected to continue for the next couple of days over much of the areas that experienced strong winds and rain on Tuesday, but the threat of severe weather has diminished, Pereira said.
Reporting by Jon Herskovitz in Austin, Texas. Additional reporting by David Gaffen in New York.