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


Storm clouds pass over the Washington Monument, Monday, Aug. 7, 2023, in Washington. Thousands of federal employees were sent home early Monday as the Washington area faced an imminent forecast of destructive storms, including tornadoes, hail and lightning. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

WASHINGTON — Thousands of U.S. flights were canceled or delayed, and more than 1.1 million homes and businesses lost power Monday as severe, destructive storms, including potential tornadoes, hail and lightning, swept through the eastern from United States.

Rain began to fall in the Washington area shortly after 5 p.m.

The National Weather Service issued a tornado watch for the DC metropolitan area, which lasted until 9:00 p.m., as well as a flood warning that extended through Tuesday morning. A special statement from the Weather Service warned: “A significant threat of damaging and locally destructive hurricane force winds exists, along with the possibility of large hail and tornadoes, including strong tornadoes.”

The spread of the storms was massive, with tornado watches and warnings posted in 10 states, from Tennessee to New York. The National Weather Service said more than 29.5 million people were under a tornado watch Monday afternoon and the area of ​​greatest concern centered around the Washington-Baltimore region.

READ: Looming storms shut down US government offices, millions under tornado watch

As of late Monday afternoon, some 1,500 US flights had been canceled and more than 7,000 delayed, according to flight tracking service FlightAware. More than a quarter of the cancellations were at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, which was recovering from disruptions caused by storms on Sunday.

The Federal Aviation Administration said it was diverting planes around storms headed for the East Coast and warned it would likely start pausing flights in and out of the New York City, Philadelphia, Washington, Charlotte and Atlanta area. .

The White House moved forward 90 minutes the departure of President Joe Biden on a four-day trip that will take him to Arizona, New Mexico and Utah. The White House also canceled a back-to-school cybersecurity event featuring First Lady Jill Biden, who is a teacher, Education Secretary Miguel Cardona, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, and school administrators, educators, and information providers. educational technology across the country. .

READ: Violent storms in the US kill at least 32 people

The Office of Personnel Management announced Monday that all non-emergency employees will be required to leave by 3:00 pm, the time all federal offices close.

“This looks to be one of the most impactful severe weather events in the Mid-Atlantic that we’ve had in some time,” National Weather Service meteorologist Chris Strong said in a Facebook Live briefing.

Meteorologists also worried about the timing of the storms. They were expected to hit major population areas in the late afternoon and early evening, prompting federal workers to be sent home early so they would not be in their cars amid wind, hail and tornadoes.

Strong advised residents: “Have a strong shelter. Being at home or being at work.

READ: Spring Storm Sweeps Through Central US, Threatens Tornadoes, Heavy Snow

By early afternoon, more than 1.1 million customers lost power in Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, West Virginia and Virginia, all states along the path of the storm system, according to the power outage. .us. The Knoxville Public Utilities Board tweeted that the damage in its Tennessee service area was “widespread and extensive” and will likely take several days to repair.

A row of utility poles have collapsed in Westminster, Maryland, WJLA-TV reported.


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Merry C. Vega is a highly respected and accomplished news author. She began her career as a journalist, covering local news for a small-town newspaper. She quickly gained a reputation for her thorough reporting and ability to uncover the truth.

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