Deadly storm takes aim on Northeast after lashing South with severe storms, floods

Deadly storm takes aim on Northeast after lashing South with severe storms, floods

Doyle Rice


Published 1: 50 PM EST Feb 7, 2020

A potent storm continued its assault on the eastern U.S. on Friday after lashing the South with severe storms and flooding, where the storm left at least five people dead and over 300,000 homes and businesses without power.

The storm’s fury was centered on the mid-Atlantic and Northeast, where severe storms may have spawned tornadoes in the Washington, D.C., area, forecasters said.

Farther north, heavy, blowing snow was making for dangerous travel from the eastern Great Lakes into northern Maine on Friday, the National Weather Service said, while freezing rain and a wintry mix caused icy roads from Pennsylvania into southern Maine. 

“A general 6-12 inches of snow will fall in the swath from parts of northwestern and north-central Pennsylvania to central and northern Maine but a 12- to 18- inch band is in store farther over the northern tier of the Northeast,” said AccuWeather meteorologist Bernie Rayno.

Howling winds will pick up after the storm passes, which could cause an unusually high number of trees to topple in the mid-Atlantic and southern New England regions on Friday, AccuWeather said. The strongest gusts will reach between 50 and 65 mph, possibly knocking down trees and power lines. 

The storm should move quickly out of the U.S. Friday night, the weather service said, but another weaker storm will bring a round of light snow to the Appalachians and parts of the mid-Atlantic Saturday into Sunday.

Where the main storm already hit, North Carolina had the most power outages as of midday Friday, with 136,000 powerless, according to Florida, South Carolina and Virginia also reported widespread outages.

The storm destroyed mobile homes in Mississippi and Alabama, caused mudslides in Tennessee and Kentucky and flooded communities that shoulder waterways across the Appalachian region.

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam declared a state of emergency Thursday evening because of heavy rains and extreme flooding. More than 500 people in southwestern Virginia were displaced by flooding and needed rescue from their homes, he said in a statement. 

Meanwhile, the Tennessee Valley Authority warned that people residing near rivers and lakes should prepare for rapidly changing water levels. 

Authorities confirmed five storm-related fatalities, in Alabama, South Carolina, North Carolina and Tennessee.

The storm also brought snow to portions of the South: Just under an inch of snow was measured at the National Weather Service office in the Memphis, Tennessee, metro area overnight Thursday night, the Weather Channel said. Snow was also seen falling in parts of northern Alabama, including Huntsville.

Just over an inch of snow in Louisville, Kentucky, made for hazardous driving early Friday, the Weather Channel reported.

Contributing: The Associated Press

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