Storms kill 2, knock out power, downs trees on East Coast
MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) — Storms that began on Halloween killed at least two people, caused flooding, downed trees and power lines and damaged homes across the Northeast on Friday.
By Friday afternoon, the number of people without power in the Northeast was starting to creep down, but still more than 450,000 customers were without electricity. In some areas it could be days before all power is restored.
A man who was injured when a tree fell on his van later died, Tennessee officials said Friday. In New York, Thomas Connery, an 82-year-old Catholic priest from Glenville, died Thursday night after he got out of his car on a flooded road and was swept away, authorities said.
In a New York City suburb, a 9-year-old girl was injured on Halloween when she was hit by a falling tree while trick or treating. Another person was injured when a tornado touched down in Pennsylvania.
A tornado with winds of 111 to 135 miles per hour (180 to 220 kilometers per hour) tore through Glen Mills, a Delaware County suburb of Philadelphia, the National Weather Service confirmed. Local officials say that at least two dozen homes were damaged and one person was injured. Investigators are still evaluating whether tornadoes touched down elsewhere in the state.
By mid-afternoon Friday almost 75,000 homes and businesses were without electricity across Pennsylvania. In the western part of the state, storms caused flooding, mudslides and road closures. High winds Friday morning caused a car fire to spread to other vehicles in a hotel parking lot in Harmar Township, leaving six cars damaged, officials said.
WPXI-TV in Pittsburgh posted a video of a small school bus driving through floodwaters Thursday after a line of heavy rain came through a suburban neighborhood. The video showed water reaching above the headlights and near the hood of the bus, which the school district said was carrying students. The bus company told the station the driver was fired as a result. A message seeking comment was left with the bus company, ABC Transit.
Almost 147,000 customers were without power in New York state after a night of heavy rain and wind gusts of up to 70 mph (110 kph).
Gov. Andrew Cuomo told Spectrum News on Friday that several hundred people were evacuated in scattered areas around the state because of high waters. In the central New York village of Dolgeville, police used a boat to rescue people from a home. The Buffalo area, meanwhile, saw flash flooding after 4 to 5 inches (10 to 13 centimeters) of rain.
In the Adirondacks, a state of emergency was declared in Essex County. Early voting for next week’s elections was called off Friday in some communities, small bridges were closed because of rising water, and many schools canceled classes.
The weather also led to the cancellation of the opening session of the luge national championships at Mount Van Hoevenberg in Lake Placid. USA Luge said Saturday’s races were on schedule.
National Weather Service Meteorologist Conor Lahiff in Burlington, Vermont, said the amount of rainfall in some parts of northeastern New York and northern Vermont was almost double what had been forecast.
“We knew there would be rivers to come up because we had saturated soils,” said Lahiff.
Electric utilities across the Northeast were busy restoring service to hundreds of thousands of customers who lost power in the storm.
The Maine Emergency Management Agency warned that some residents will likely be in the dark into the weekend following winds that topped 70 mph (110 kph) in the coastal town of Castine.
The howling wind downed trees, damaged homes and temporarily shut down the only two roads of Castine.
Will Cosgrove, an owner of The Manor Inn, said the wind knocked over a sign, ripped away shingles and rearranged outdoor furniture. The building shook and windows rattled.
“It was kind of ‘knock-you-over wind.’ It rattled the bones of the building,” he said of the building constructed in 1893. “It whistled and rattled all night long.”
The state’s largest utility, Central Maine Power, is getting help from crews for other utilities, including some in Canada, and is trying to line up even more help, but is struggling because there’s damage all over the region.
In Orono, Maine, the state’s flagship university was again without power after coping with major outages during the October storm. The University of Maine announced on Friday morning that it was closed, and classes were canceled until 5 p.m.
Associated Press writers Shawn Marsh in Trenton, New Jersey; David Sharp and Patrick Whittle in Portland, Maine; Becky Yonker in Louisville, Kentucky; and Maryclaire Dale in Philadelphia contributed to this report.