Page 2 of 2 Previous

Continued: Massive storm system that started in Midwest hits Mid-Atlantic; 2 deaths blamed on weather

  • Article by: ERIC TUCKER , Associated Press
  • Last update: June 13, 2013 - 9:35 PM

In Ohio, storms with swift, straight-line winds soaked parts of the state, knocking down trees and barns and leaving many without power Thursday as commuters dodged fallen branches on roads and faced backups at intersections where traffic lights were out.

Straight-line winds topping 70 mph were reported and more than two dozen tornado warnings were issued as two rounds of storms pummeled the state, but no twisters have been confirmed, said Phillip Johnson, who was part of the team monitoring developments for the Ohio Emergency Management Agency.

Play was suspended at the U.S. Open at Merion Golf Club outside Philadelphia less than two hours after the start of the first round and resumed about three hours later before another brief delay in the evening.

In New Jersey, officials opened the state's Emergency Operations Center on Thursday morning to monitor the storm's progress. The weather service issued a flood watch for most of the state. Forecasters predicted 1 to 2 inches of rain will fall on swollen rivers and streams. As thunderstorms rumbled across the southern and central parts of the state, thousands of residents were left without power.

In northern New York, rain sent rivers and streams over their banks, leading to evacuations and road closures.

Early Thursday morning, thunderstorms that punched through northern Illinois caused significant wind damage, mainly in rural areas west and south of Chicago. The city was largely spared. The weather service said intense winds estimated to have reached 70-80 mph in some areas snapped large trees at their trunks or uprooted them entirely.

Whether the storms were a derecho will take time to determine, forecasters said. A derecho is a storm of strong straight-line winds spanning at least 240 miles. The systems are distinctive and take on a comma or bow shape, and usually have a large area of very cold cloud tops not typically seen in an ordinary thunderstorm.

"A derecho is based more on research," said Evan Bentley, a meteorologist at the weather service office for northern Indiana. "How much damage, how widespread it was." It could take days to determine whether the storms met the criteria, he said.

Even if the storm wasn't a derecho, it still brought several tornadoes, large hail and flooding that did some damage Wednesday.

In the small town of Belmond, Iowa, about 90 miles north of Des Moines, Duwayne Abel, owner of Cattleman's Steaks & Provisions restaurant, said a tornado demolished part of the building. No one was in the restaurant at the time.

"I was, oh, eight miles west of town and I looked toward town and I could see a funnel cloud, having no idea it was exactly where our restaurant was," Abel said. His wife and an employee were able to get out of the restaurant and sought shelter in a basement.

Nearly a year ago, a derecho led to two dozen deaths, caused at least $1 billion in damage from Chicago to Washington, and left more than 4 million customers without power. Winds reached nearly 100 mph in some places.

  • related content

  • Graphic: Interactive: U.S. storm reports, warnings, precipitation

    Tuesday November 26, 2013

    This map shows the National Weather Services (NWS) precipitation radar and when you zoom in...

  • A long day and the lead for Lefty at US Open

    Friday June 14, 2013

    Even for Phil Mickelson, his path to the top of the leaderboard Thursday in the U.S. Open was unconventional.

  • Wisconsin cleanup getting underway from strong storm

    Thursday June 13, 2013

    Utility crews are working to restore power to customers who lost service in a powerful storm that blew through Wisconsin.

  • Passing motorists Charles Jenkins (center) and Tyler Hackworth (center right) work with members of the Lynchburg Fire Department to clear a tree that fell due to heavy winds across the southbound lanes of U.S. 501 in Lynchburg, Va., Thursday.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions
  • 44°
  • 53/44
  • Partly Sunny

The Drive: Metro traffic

ADVERTISEMENT

Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Can the Wild rally to win its playoff series against Colorado?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close