Powerful storm leaves path of power outages and flooding across the Midwest and northeastern United States
Extreme high winds up to 76 mph across the Midwest and northeastern United States led to power outages, property damage, flooding and the delay of the Texans-Browns NFL game in Cleveland on Sunday.
After a new storm formed over the Great Plains on Saturday, AccuWeather meteorologists accurately predicted strong winds would target the Great Lakes and Northeast to end the weekend.
In Dayton, Ohio, the winds were blamed for at least one fatality. According to The Associated Press, a 63-year-old woman was struck and killed by a falling tree. The death remains under investigation by the Montgomery County sheriff’s office, the AP said.
More than 25 million were under a winter weather alert in parts of Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa, Illinois, Wisconsin, Michigan, New York, New Hampshire, Vermont and Maine on Sunday afternoon.
“A deepening area of low pressure over the Great Lakes has resulted in damaging winds across much of the Midwest and Great Lakes region,” AccuWeather Meteorologist Brett Rossio said.
By Sunday afternoon, a broad area of wind gusts ranging between 40 to 76 mph were recorded in Missouri, Indiana and Ohio.
By 1 p.m. EST on Sunday those high winds and winter weather conditions led to more than 126,000 power outages in Ohio, while another 200,000 customers were without electricity in Michigan, Indiana and Kentucky, according to poweroutage.us.
Those outages quickly escalated within a few short hours. By 4:00 p.m. EST outages topped 350,000 in Ohio and nearly 215,000 in Michigan. By 6 p.m. EST, over 800,000 customers in the region were out of power.
The inclement weather with heavy rain, hail and lightning at FirstEnergy Stadium in Cleveland, Ohio, sparked a 37-minute delay for the Texans-Browns kickoff. The stadium asked the fans present to shelter in place while the players retreated to their locker rooms, USA Today reported. The Cleveland Browns posted images of their players getting ready for the game in the inclement weather and noted “The pre-game weather was wild.”
Across the Great Lakes, winds were strong enough to not only knock down trees but also break large tree limbs, cause property damage and lakeshore flooding.
The National Weather Service (NWS) Detroit issued a high wind warning on Sunday for the Detroit area as well as across much of Michigan.
The Mackinac Bridge in Michigan closed for high-profile vehicles due to the very strong winds affecting the region on Sunday. Drivers were asked to reduce speed to 20 mph while approaching the bridge and prepare to stop.
In Buffalo, New York, tides were pushed up to seven feet above normal on Sunday, causing flooding from Lake Erie. Across the lake, Toledo, Ohio, experienced tides that were six feet lower than usual. This phenomenon is called a seiche, and is similar to a storm surge.
The flooding in Buffalo could continue throughout the night, and places like Michigan City, Indiana, and Benton Harbor, Michigan could expect lake-shore flooding as well through Sunday night. By 7 p.m. EST, lakeshore flooding from Lake Erie had also begun in Presque Isle State Park in Erie County, Pennsylvania.
Airline delays and turbulence could be issues that airline passengers face as the strong winds take aim. In Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, thunderstorms were already responsible for delays up to an hour on Sunday evening.
Cold air will be pulled down behind the earlier Sunday rain, allowing for snow showers in parts of Michigan and Wisconsin through Sunday night. Some lake-effect snow squalls are also possible.
In addition to the gusty winds, rain will also be sweeping eastward with this storm through Sunday night.
Gusty winds that arrived Sunday afternoon will persist into Monday. Coastal areas of the mid-Atlantic and New England could experience wind gusts between 40 and 50 mph with local gusts to 60 mph prior to the arrival of rain.
Travel over high bridges in Philadelphia and New York City could be hazardous, especially for high-profile vehicles such as trucks and trailers.
When the rain arrives, it could come in the form of a squall line, containing wind-whipped rain and a burst of even stronger winds.
As the severe weather subsides along the I-95 corridor, precipitation will be changing from rain to snow across the eastern Great Lakes.
Gusty winds will persist, triggering lake-effect snow across the Great Lakes to the central Appalachians spanning Monday night and Tuesday.
The infamous storm that sunk the Edmond Fitzgerald in November 45 years ago was similar in nature to the current wind storm, and is an example of how powerful and dangerous this type of storm can become.
Courtesy of northcentralpa.com