A massive storm system unleashed vicious winds and thunderstorms across the East Coast on Monday, killing at least two people and knocking out power to more than 1 million utility customers from Pennsylvania down to Georgia.
In the northwestern Alabama city of Florence, a 28-year-old man died after lightning struck him in a parking lot Monday, police said – a rarity in the US as only about 20 people on average are killed by lightning strikes annually, according to the National Weather Service.
In Anderson County, South Carolina, Evan Christopher Kinley, 15, was killed when a falling tree struck him during a severe storm, according to the county coroner’s office. The teen had just arrived at his grandparents’ home and got out of his car when the tree fell, the office said.
The storm system brought heavy rain, thunder and violent winds of up to 70 mph throughout parts of the coast from New York to Mississippi – and caused major travel disruptions in the skies. By Monday night, more than 400 reports of strong winds had been made across the region.
More than 8,000 flights within, into or out of the US were delayed Monday and more than 1,600 were canceled, according to data from FlightAware.com. The most affected airports included the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, New York’s LaGuardia Airport and the Reagan National Airport near Washington, DC, according to the website.
Nine simultaneous ground stops, which prevent flights from landing, were in effect at airports, including Hartsfield-Jackson, LaGuardia, Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey and Philadelphia International Airport.
Live updates: Damaging storms hit Eastern US
And as the sun went down, hundreds of thousands of Americans were without power, with the majority of outages recorded Monday night in North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Georgia and Maryland, according to PowerOutage.us.
In Georgia, crews were out as soon as the skies cleared Monday evening and worked to restore power, after uprooted trees and powerful winds, hail and rain downed power lines, according to utility company Georgia Power.
And parts of the country that were hammered with severe weather Monday may still not be out of the woods, as new threats could develop Tuesday.
A slight risk of severe thunderstorms – a Level 2 of 5 – exists Tuesday afternoon for parts of Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia and Florida, as well as parts of Colorado, Nebraska and Kansas, the Storm Prediction Center says. An enhanced risk – a Level 3 of 5 – exists for a smaller portion of the latter three states.
Areas at risk on Tuesday will generally be south or west of where Monday’s damaging storms rages. While that is good news for residents cleaning up after Monday’s mess, it also means more than 5 million additional people are at risk for damaging winds and heavy rainfall on Tuesday.