Thousands of flight cancellations, 1.1 million lose power as strong storms hit eastern US

by Ryan Lee
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Strong storms, including potential tornadoes, hail, and lightning, wreaked havoc across the eastern United States on Monday, leading to widespread disruption. Thousands of U.S. flights were either canceled or delayed, while more than 1.1 million residences and businesses faced power outages.

In the Washington area, rain began to pour shortly after 5 p.m., and the skies turned an unsettling dark gray, signaling the approaching severe weather and extensive power failures that had been anticipated.

Warnings were issued by the National Weather Service, including a tornado watch for the broader D.C. area lasting until 9 p.m., as well as a flood warning extending into Tuesday morning. A special statement alerted of a significant threat for damaging hurricane-force winds, large hail, and even strong tornadoes.

Tornado watches and warnings were spread across 10 states, from Tennessee to New York, and over 29.5 million individuals were under a tornado watch on Monday afternoon. The area of greatest worry was centered in the Washington-Baltimore region.

By Monday afternoon’s end, approximately 1,500 U.S. flights were canceled, with over 7,000 delayed, according to FlightAware. Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport accounted for more than a quarter of the cancellations as it coped with the aftermath of Sunday’s storms.

The Federal Aviation Administration rerouted planes around storms heading to the East Coast and indicated probable delays for flights in several major cities. The White House made adjustments to President Joe Biden’s schedule and canceled an event featuring first lady Jill Biden, among others.

Federal offices closed at 3 p.m., and the Office of Personnel Management instructed all non-emergency employees to leave by that time.

According to a National Weather Service meteorologist, this appeared to be one of the most consequential severe weather events in the Mid-Atlantic region in recent memory. The timing of the storms, expected to strike populated areas in the late afternoon and early evening, led to federal workers being sent home early to avoid being caught in dangerous conditions.

Residents were urged to find strong shelter, whether at home or work, to stay safe from the storm’s impact.

By early evening, power outages had affected over 1.1 million customers across 11 states along the storm’s path, according to poweroutage.us. The damage in Tennessee was described as “widespread and extensive,” likely requiring several days for repair. In Westminster, Maryland, utility poles were knocked down, illustrating the severity of the storm.

The report was contributed to by Collins from Columbia, South Carolina, along with Big Big News writer Darlene Superville in Washington and AP Airlines Writer David Koenig.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about storms

What areas were most affected by the strong storms in the eastern U.S.?

The areas most affected included the Washington-Baltimore region and 11 states along the storm’s path, including Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, West Virginia, and Virginia.

How many flights were canceled or delayed due to the storms?

Approximately 1,500 U.S. flights were canceled, and over 7,000 were delayed. Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport accounted for more than a quarter of the cancellations.

What warnings were issued by the National Weather Service?

The National Weather Service issued a tornado watch for the greater D.C. area, a flood warning extending through Tuesday morning, and a special statement warning of hurricane-force winds, large hail, and strong tornadoes.

How did the storms affect the White House’s schedule?

The White House pushed up President Joe Biden’s departure by 90 minutes for a trip to Arizona, New Mexico, and Utah and canceled a back-to-school cybersecurity event featuring first lady Jill Biden and other officials.

How long were power outages expected to last, and what areas were impacted?

More than 1.1 million customers across 11 states lost power, and areas like Tennessee experienced “widespread and extensive” damage that was likely to take several days to repair.

What precautions were taken for federal workers and the general population?

The Office of Personnel Management instructed all non-emergency employees to depart before 3 p.m., and federal offices were closed. Residents were advised to seek shelter in strong structures, either at home or work.

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Samantha_Lee August 8, 2023 - 3:05 pm

Just another example of nature’s fury I guess. We have to prepare better. how many more warnings do we need? Stay strong everyone, help your neighbors.

Mira_K August 8, 2023 - 8:40 pm

These storms are gettin out of hand. what’s happening to our weather? Time to take climate change seriously people.

James T August 8, 2023 - 9:33 pm

This is terrifying! we’ve never seen storms this bad here before. Is everyone okay? Stay safe everyone!!

Gregory1990 August 8, 2023 - 9:40 pm

Its so scary, my family’s in that area. trying to reach them and make sure they’re safe! Praying for everyone affected.


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