Intense storms swept across the eastern United States on Monday, resulting in tragic fatalities, extensive power outages, and severe travel disruptions. The relentless weather system claimed the lives of at least two individuals, left hundreds of thousands without electricity, and forced the cancellation or delay of thousands of flights.
With a significant portion of the eastern seaboard affected, the storms brought torrential rain, powerful winds, and hail, causing havoc from Alabama to New York. The National Weather Service (NWS) had earlier predicted a “moderate risk” of hazardous conditions, including gusts reaching up to 80 miles per hour (130 kilometers per hour).
The NWS strongly urged the public to stay informed about the evolving situation, emphasizing the importance of receiving weather warnings through multiple channels. As night fell, the most immediate threat from the storms waned, but the risk of flooding remained as rainfall persisted.
Flash flood warnings were issued for Washington, as well as the cities of Arlington and Alexandria in Virginia, until early Tuesday morning. Virginia also witnessed hail measuring as large as 4.5 inches (11.5 centimeters) in diameter.
Tragedy struck in Alabama, where a 28-year-old man lost his life after being struck by lightning in an industrial park parking lot. In South Carolina, a 15-year-old boy was fatally struck by a falling tree outside his grandparents’ residence.
As dawn broke on Tuesday, nearly 600,000 customers found themselves without power across the East Coast, spanning from Pennsylvania to Georgia. Maryland experienced fallen power lines and trees that obstructed roads, homes, and rail lines.
Similar havoc was seen in other southern states, as Georgia Power shared photos of downed trees entangled with power lines due to the combination of high winds, hail, and heavy rainfall. The utility company assured the public that its crews were diligently working to restore electricity.
The storm’s impact extended to the aviation sector, with over 1,700 flights canceled and more than 8,000 delayed on Monday due to the turbulent weather conditions, according to FlightAware.
Anticipating the severity of the situation, federal agencies in Washington sent employees home early on Monday afternoon. These events unfolded as regions in the southern United States, including Texas, Louisiana, and Florida, grappled with extreme heat warnings, with temperatures predicted to reach as high as 108 degrees Fahrenheit (42 Celsius) through Tuesday.
Experts highlight that the intensification and frequency of extreme weather events globally can be attributed to the effects of climate change.