Friday, February 1, 2013

Storms lash East, chill hits Upper Midwest

Skip Butler / The Daily Tribune News via AP

Emergency crews rescue Brenda Mulkey, injured at her home when a suspected tornado touched down in Adairsville, Ga. Wednesday.

By John Newland, Staff Writer, NBC News

High winds and heavy rains brought more misery to the Eastern Seaboard Thursday, a day after a squall line thundered across the South and produced widespread flooding, tornadoes and violent storms that leveled homes and killed at least two people.

The National Weather Service issued watches and warnings predicting damaging winds, flooding and perhaps even more tornadoes as the storm system pushed toward the Atlantic.

Major cities including Washington, Baltimore, Philadelphia and New York were lashed by high winds and heavy rains early Thursday. Areas of coastal North Carolina, Virginia and Maryland were under severe thunderstorm warnings, and tornado watches were in effect until 5 a.m. ET.

By 4 a.m. ET, the weather service had logged numerous reports of downed trees and power lines, as well as large hail, in a line from Maryland to southern North Carolina. High-wind warnings were in effect in eastern Pennsylvania, and heavy storms were moving through Philadelphia.

Gusts of up to 60 mph, strong enough to topple trees and bring down power lines, were predicted in the New York metro area, and the accompanying storms could bring up to an inch of rain per hour and lead to flash flooding, the weather service said.

By 6 a.m. Thursday, more than 5,600 Con Edison customers in the New York City area were without power, the utility reported. National Grid, which provides electricity to upstate New York, Massachusetts, New?Hampshire?and Rhode Island, reported more than 28,000 customers without power; Connecticut Light & Power reported more than 70,000.

Even stronger winds, gusting to 65 mph, were predicted for Boston and parts of New England.

David Goldman / AP

Workers look for personal belongings after a tornado struck Adairsville, Ga., Wednesday.

On Wednesday, a tornado ripped through Adairsville, Ga., killing at least one person and littering Interstate 75 with debris. Another person was killed in Tennessee.

Those hoping for relief after the storm system passes out to sea may not be in luck. The storms were largely caused by a mass of cold air and high winds colliding with warm, wet air from the Gulf of Mexico that brought balmy temperatures to much of the East and Midwest.

As the cold air takes hold, a return to winter proper follows suit.

Winter storm warnings were in effect Thursday in Colorado, Wyoming and Montana, while parts of the Northern Plains and Upper Midwest hunkered down under wind chills predicted to dip as low as 55 degrees below zero in North Dakota.

"Dangerous wind chills of 20-50 degrees below zero are possible for the Dakotas and Minnesota,"?Weather Channel meteorologist Kevin Roth said.

In more populous areas, including the Twin Cities, wind chills had potential to reach minus 40 degrees, the weather service said.

Those in the Upper Midwest who escape the worst of the wind chills still won?t have it easy. Forecasters warned of heavy lake-effect snows from Wisconsin to Western New York.


Tornado rips through Georgia city as storms wreak havoc

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