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Severe Storms Devastate Eastern US: 2 Dead, Thousands of Flights Canceled, 1.1 Million Lose Power

by Ethan Kim
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A deadly weather system wreaked havoc in the eastern United States, resulting in the loss of at least two lives, widespread disruption of air travel with thousands of flights canceled or delayed, and more than 1.1 million homes and businesses left without power. The storms, accompanied by hail and lightning, struck several states, with the National Weather Service issuing a tornado watch for the greater D.C. area and cautioning about the potential for damaging winds, large hail, and even strong tornadoes.

The scale of the storms was massive, with tornado watches and warnings affecting ten states, from Tennessee to New York, putting over 29.5 million people at risk. Tragically, in Anderson, South Carolina, a 15-year-old boy was fatally struck by a falling tree when he sought shelter at his grandparent’s house during the storm. In Florence, Alabama, a 28-year-old man lost his life after being struck by lightning.

The impact on air travel was significant, with more than 2,600 U.S. flights canceled and almost 7,900 delayed, causing major disruptions at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport and prompting the Federal Aviation Administration to reroute planes to avoid storm-affected areas.

The White House had to alter plans due to the severe weather, advancing President Joe Biden’s departure for a trip to Arizona, New Mexico, and Utah, and canceling a back-to-school cybersecurity event featuring First Lady Jill Biden, Education Secretary Miguel Cardona, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, and other education stakeholders from around the country.

To ensure safety, federal workers were sent home early, and the Office of Personnel Management announced the closure of all non-emergency federal offices before 3 p.m.

National Weather Service meteorologist Chris Strong warned residents about the severity of the weather and advised them to seek strong shelter at home or work. The storms also disrupted the Major League Baseball game between the Phillies and the Washington Nationals in Philadelphia and led to a flash flood warning in Maryland after heavy rainfall.

The aftermath of the storms left over 1.1 million customers without power across several states along the storm system’s path, causing widespread damage to infrastructure that could take days to repair. Trees and power lines were knocked down in multiple states, blocking roads and causing damage to properties.

This report was contributed by Collins from Columbia, South Carolina, and additional contributions came from Darlene Superville in Washington and AP Airlines Writer David Koenig.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Storms

Q: What were the impacts of the severe storms in the eastern US?

A: The severe storms in the eastern US resulted in two fatalities, thousands of flight cancellations or delays, and over 1.1 million homes and businesses losing power.

Q: What warnings were issued by the National Weather Service during the storms?

A: The National Weather Service issued a tornado watch for the greater D.C. area, lasting until 9 p.m. They also warned of significant threats, including damaging hurricane-force winds, large hail, and the potential for strong tornadoes.

Q: Which states were affected by the storms?

A: The storms impacted ten states from Tennessee to New York, with tornado watches and warnings posted in these areas, affecting more than 29.5 million people.

Q: Were there any casualties reported during the storms?

A: Yes, there were casualties reported. A 15-year-old boy in Anderson, South Carolina, was tragically killed when a tree fell on him while seeking shelter, and in Florence, Alabama, a 28-year-old man died after being struck by lightning.

Q: How did the severe weather affect air travel?

A: More than 2,600 U.S. flights were canceled and nearly 7,900 delayed due to the storms. Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport experienced significant disruptions, leading to rerouting of planes to avoid the affected areas.

Q: How did the White House respond to the severe weather?

A: The White House rescheduled President Joe Biden’s departure for a four-day trip by 90 minutes and canceled a back-to-school cybersecurity event featuring First Lady Jill Biden and other officials.

Q: How did the storms impact federal workers?

A: To ensure safety, federal workers were sent home early, with all non-emergency federal offices closing before 3 p.m. in response to the severe weather.

Q: What was the advice given by the National Weather Service during the storms?

A: The National Weather Service advised residents to seek strong shelter at home or work to protect themselves from the severe weather conditions.

Q: How did the storms affect other events?

A: The storms caused the postponement of a Major League Baseball game between the Phillies and the Washington Nationals in Philadelphia and led to a flash flood warning in Maryland due to heavy rainfall.

Q: Which states experienced power outages and infrastructure damage?

A: Over 1.1 million customers were left without power across Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, West Virginia, and Virginia. Infrastructure damage, including fallen trees and power lines, was reported in multiple states, causing disruptions and property damage.

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