2 dead, more than 1 million lose power in eastern US storms; thousands of flight cancellations: Latest updates

Update: Thousands still without power Tuesday after severe storms batter the East Coast.

Severe thunderstorms across the eastern United States turned deadly Monday, killing at least two people and cutting power to more than 1.1 million customers as damaging winds and large hail battered the region.

Destructive weather conditions were widespread with tornado watches and warnings issued across 10 states from Tennessee to New York. Toppled trees and power lines were seen falling into roads and some homes in multiple states.

“This does look to be one of the most impactful severe weather events across the Mid-Atlantic that we have had in some time,” National Weather Service meteorologist Chris Strong said during a Facebook live briefing.

The Washington, D.C., area is being hit by thunderstorms, turbulent rainfall, and gusty winds affecting the area as part of a severe weather outbreak with a rare Level 4 out of 5 ranking, according to the National Weather Service and the Washington Post's Capital Weather Gang.

The district was one of many areas along the East Coast under a tornado watch Monday afternoon through 9 p.m. It's part of a wicked weather system that had a large chunk of the East Coast in its crosshairs Monday in a summer of relentless heat and pounding storms.

The weather service said more than 29.5 million people were under a tornado watch Monday afternoon.

By Monday night, more than 2,600 U.S. flights had been canceled and nearly 7,900 delayed, according to flight tracking website FlightAware. And over one million Americans are without power, according to the website PowerOutage.us.

"A severe weather outbreak is expected across parts of the eastern U.S. today with widespread and locally destructive damaging winds and tornadoes as the greatest threats, especially across the southern/central Appalachians and Mid-Atlantic States," according to the weather service.

At least 2 people killed amid severe weather

Severe thunderstorms killed at least two people MondayA 15-year-old boy died after a tree fell on him as he got out of the car after he arrived at his grandparent's house in Anderson, South Carolina, according to the Anderson County Office of the Coroner.

In Florence, Alabama, police said a 28-year-old man died after he was struck by lightning, WAAY-TV reported.

Power outages; flights delayed due to East Coast storm

Electricity is out for more than one million Americans in nine states affected by the storms, according to the website PowerOutage.US.

In North Carolina, 211,746 customers lost electricity by Monday evening. The same goes for 131,644 customers in Pennsylvania; 77,311 customers in Georgia; and 85,652 customers in Maryland who were without power late Monday.

More than 2,600 planes have also been canceled and thousands more have been delayed, according to FlightAware.

"The FAA is re-routing aircraft around the storms heading to the East Coast as much as possible," said the Federal Aviation Administration on Monday afternoon.

'Widespread damaging winds'

From Atlanta to Philadelphia, more than 80 million people were at risk for dangerous winds, flash flooding and isolated tornadoes, forecasters said.

"Robust southwesterly winds will transport abundant moisture up the Eastern Seaboard, providing the potential for a washout in some interior sections of the Northeast as thunderstorms produce impressive downpours," AccuWeather Meteorologist La Troy Thornton said.

Thunderstorms were already triggering localized torrential downpours and disrupting travel in parts of the central Appalachians and the Northeast on Monday morning, AccuWeather said.

NOAA's Storm Prediction Center issued a moderate risk warning for severe storms across parts of the mid-Atlantic, including Baltimore and Washington, and warned of "widespread damaging winds." AccuWeather said it has been at least five years since the prediction center issued that threat level for the area.

What is the timeline for the storms?

The showers and thunderstorms that were dotting the Midwest, South and East early Monday were expected to intensify by early afternoon and roll through the evening, weather.com said. The outlet warned of destructive straight-line winds that could topple trees and spark power outages, hail, flash flooding and tornadoes.

Other cities that could be thrashed by the intense system, according to AccuWeather: Pittsburgh; Cleveland; Cincinnati; Baltimore; Charleston, West Virginia; Knoxville, Tennessee; Huntsville, Alabama; and Raleigh, North Carolina.

The turbulent weather could plague much of the East the rest of the week as well, forecasters said.

"The pattern this week will feature frequent showers and thunderstorms, typically every other day or so, across much of the East," AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Alex Sosnowski said. "Even though it may not rain as much or as often as it did in July, conditions may again pose daily challenges for outdoor plans and travel."And while the DC-area storm may not become a derecho − the equivalent of an inland hurricane − it could have some "derecho-like impacts," the Washington Post's Capital Weather Gang said.

How hot is it?:6.5 billion people endured climate-change-driven heat in July, report says

Will the extreme heat return in the mid-Atlantic?

The good news − for now − is that the stormy, wet weather should keep at bay the intense heat that engulfed the mid-Atlantic and part of the Northeast in July, forecasters said.

August temperatures have been 3-6 degrees below the historical average from Washington, D.C., to Boston so far, AccuWeather said, but forecasters warned the heat could make a comeback.

"Heat can build during the middle to late part of August in the Northeast and mid-Atlantic as many kids return to school. This can be accompanied by high humidity and a risk for thunderstorm activity," AccuWeather Meteorologist Brandon Buckingham said.

Dark clouds pass over a field in Lake Forest, Ill., on, July 26, 2023. The summer of 2023 has been a hot and stormy one for large parts of the nation.

But heat still has the South in its grips

"Dangerously hot daytime temperatures" were expected across the South on Monday and Tuesday, according to the National Weather Service. The record highs would persist from the Desert Southwest into Texas and extend eastward along the Gulf Coast into parts of the Southeast and Florida, the weather service said.

Everything you need to know about heat:From the heat index to a heat dome to an excessive heat warning

Highs could hit the upper 90s to the lower 100s with a heat index − what the temperature feels like when relative humidity is combined with the air temperature − of 105 to 115 degrees in those areas, according to the weather service. The hot temperatures, dry ground conditions, low humidity, and gusty winds would elevate the wildfire risk in the Four Corners states into Texas, the weather service said.

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