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High winds to down trees, trigger more power outages in Northeast

By Alex Sosnowski, AccuWeather senior meteorologist
February 25, 2019, 7:48:36 PM EST

A powerful storm will continue to cause strong winds in parts of the Northeast through Monday night, threatening to knock down more trees, cut power and cause travel problems.

Winds have begun to ease over the Ohio Valley and will do the same over the central and southern Appalachians during Monday night.

However, several more hours of strong winds are forecast for the mid-Atlantic coast and it may take until Tuesday before winds begin to drop off in New England and northern New York state.

Hundreds of thousands of people have lost power across the Midwest and Northeast.

On Saturday night, wind gusts exceeded 65 mph in St. Louis, toppling trees and resulting in tens of thousands of power outages.

Widespread wind gusts of 50 to 65 mph, with locally higher gusts, blasted the Midwest and the southern Appalachians to end the weekend.

Winds reportedly gusted up to 124 mph atop Grandfather Mountain, North Carolina, on Sunday night.

In addition to the widespread power outages, numerous trees have fallen with damage to some structures also reported. A couple of semi-trucks were also overturned by the winds.

Blustery conditions are expected to cause power and travel problems, as well as property damage and a risk to pedestrians.

Strong winds Feb 24 canopy

Strong winds caused this canopy collapse at a gas station in Bradley, Illinois, on Sunday, Feb. 24, 2019. (Twitter/Bradley Police Department)

The strength of the wind can continue to cause minor property damage and remove loose shingles from roofs in most cases. More significant and life-threatening damage can occur where trees land on homes and/or vehicles.

Loose items in the yard or near the street, such as trash cans and recycling bins, may become projectiles.

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Many more residents are expected to endure power outages with this event. Be sure to have flashlights on hand, prepare generators and have cell phones and extra batteries fully charged.

"Residents who rely on electric heat will have to find ways to stay warm or seek shelter elsewhere as bitter cold plunges into the Northeast on Monday," according to AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Kristina Pydynowski.

However, even gas or oil furnaces and heat pumps require some electrical current to operate.

During Monday night, the combination of wind, dry air and temperatures will send AccuWeather RealFeel® Temperatures below zero over the mountains and the single digits and teens elsewhere in the Northeast.

Winds Monday Evening 2 pm

Where air is funneled between tall buildings of the major cities, walking may be difficult.

Gaps in the mountains and high bridges over area rivers may be especially difficult for motorists with high-profile vehicles to negotiate. Commercial truck drivers should continue to check for vehicle restrictions.

Winds this strong can easily break large tree limbs and knock trees over. A significant number of trees may be toppled as the soil, both in places with and without snowcover, is saturated in many cases due to wet conditions from late last summer to the present.

Walking or driving through wooded areas may be hazardous. Avoid standing or parking under tall trees as limbs may crash to the ground with no notice.

Strong crosswinds are causing airline delays at some of the airports. There will be an increased risk of moderate to heavy low-level turbulence for airline passengers.

Download the free AccuWeather app to view the latest forecasts and advisories for your area.

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