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    High winds cut power to over 1 million across central, northeastern US Wednesday

    By Alex Sosnowski, AccuWeather senior meteorologist
    March 08, 2017, 6:27:04 PM EST

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    Dangerous winds will roar eastward from the Great Lakes to the central Appalachians into Wednesday night.

    As of Wednesday evening, nearly 1,200,000 utility customers have already lost power from the Great Lakes to the central Appalachians.

    The winds mark the beginning of more persistent cold air, which will bring opportunities for some snow in parts of the Midwest and Eastern states into the middle of March.

    Wind gusts approaching 50 mph will be strong enough to break tree limbs, spark power outages and trigger travel delays. The strongest gusts may be able to tear shingles from roofs and cause other minor property damage.

    As the strong gusts progress eastward, wind-related airline delays are likely from Chicago to Detroit, Pittsburgh, Toronto, New York City and Philadelphia. A significant amount of low-level turbulence is likely.

    Gusty crosswinds can be strong enough to topple high-profile vehicles.

    A plane taking of from Willow Run Airport in Ypsilanti, Michigan slid off the runway on Wednesday afternoon amid high winds, causing extensive damage, the Associated Press reported. Everyone that was on the plane was safe, including the Michigan men's basketball team which was on their way to the Big Ten Tournament in Washington, D.C.

    Static High Winds into Wed Nt.

    While the strongest winds have exited the Plains, the combination of breezy conditions, dry air and dormant vegetation will continue the risk of rapidly-spreading brush fires on Wednesday. Fires in northwestern Texas have taken at least five lives and caused several injuries early this week, according to local media reports.

    The core of the strongest winds will extend from the lower Peninsula of Michigan to Southwest Ontario, western New York and part of western Pennsylvania. Gusts in this area can frequent 50 and 60 mph, but can be locally stronger.

    The winds forced the closure of the skydeck at the Willis Tower in Chicago on Wednesday morning.

    High winds ripped the roof off a children's center in Woodland Township, Michigan, on Wednesday morning.

    Gusts topped 80 mph in the Rochester, New York, area during Wednesday afternoon. The high winds downed numerous trees and power lines throughout Monroe County, New York.

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    "The strong winds will kick up large waves on the Great Lakes, which are mostly ice-free," according to AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Paul Walker. "Flooding can occur along the southern and eastern shoreline areas."

    From Wednesday morning to Wednesday afternoon, water levels have risen 3 feet along the eastern shores of Lake Erie.

    As the cold winds blast across the Great Lakes, enough moisture can be gathered to produce locally heavy snow showers.

    Motorists should be aware of the threat for sudden, gusty rain and snow showers across northern Pennsylvania, New York state and into New England into Wednesday evening.

    By Wednesday night and Thursday, troublesome gusty winds will extend to parts of New England.

    Since the storm system responsible for the winds will lift northward and weaken across Canada, gusts along much of the mid-Atlantic coast and New England will not be as intense as those which occurred last week.

    Winds will diminish the Midwest and Northeast during Wednesday night and Thursday.

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