Photos: Powerful storms cause 5 fatalities, widespread wind damage in northeastern US

By Brian Lada, AccuWeather meteorologist and staff writer
May 17, 2018, 9:05:17 PM EDT

Thunderstorms, including multiple tornadoes, caused widespread wind damage across the northeastern United States in the region’s worst severe weather outbreak so far this year.

“Strong thunderstorms developed early Tuesday afternoon across western Pennsylvania and raced eastward toward the I-95 corridor through the evening,” AccuWeather Meteorologist Alyson Hoegg said.

Winds frequently gusted between 50 and 100 mph as the storms blasted eastward, resulting in widespread wind damage from central Pennsylvania through Connecticut.

"As of Thursday morning, National Weather Service survey crews have confirmed at least five tornadoes, including an EF-2 tornado in Kent, New York. during the May 15 onslaught," according to AccuWeather Meteorologist Jesse Ferrell.

A sixth tornado was observed in Sullivan County, New York, by a trained spotter during Tuesday. A seventh tornado was confirmed in Litchfield County, Connecticut, but no damage was found.

"There were also a few large downbursts that brought winds up to 110 mph including in Wayne County, Pennsylvania, Fairfield County, Connecticut, and Duchesss County, New York," Ferrell said.

Downbursts are strong straight-line winds.

Near Effort, Pennsylvania, a tree fell on a car, killing the person inside. In Newburgh, New York, an 11-year-old girl was killed by a falling tree while her mother suffered minor injuries. Also in Newburgh, police said a tree fell on a women who was operating a vehicle, according to ABC News.

A falling tree struck and killed someone in New Fairfield, Connecticut. A tree fell on a truck in nearby Danbury, killing one man. A collapsed dugout resulted in one serious injury in Danbury as well.

“In places like Philadelphia and New York City, these storms arrived just in time for the evening commute and led to widespread travel disruptions,” Hoegg said.

The timing of these storms contributed to hundreds of flight delays at airports from Washington, D.C. through Boston.

Hail as large as baseballs was reported on Tuesday afternoon north of Poughkeepsie, New York, following the passage of one of the tornado-warned thunderstorms.

On Tuesday evening, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo issued a State of Emergency in Putnam, Dutchess, Orange and Sullivan counties following the severe storms and deployed members of the New York National Guard.

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Significant hail that fell in southern Columbia County, New York, on Tuesday afternoon. (Photo/Julian Diamond)

Hundreds of trees were toppled across the region, bringing down power lines, blocking roads and causing property damage.

Power outages climbed over 580,000 across the region on Tuesday evening with a majority of the outages being reported in Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.

Some outages may last until later this week as crews work to clear debris and replace damaged equipment.

Consistently heavy rain in Frederick, Maryland, resulted in a flood emergency as roads turned into rivers, cars stalled and basements flooded.

Over 80 passengers became stranded on a passenger train on Tuesday evening near the town of Brunswick, Maryland, when floodwaters filled the first level of the cabins. Rescue crews were able to remove all the passengers by 10 p.m. EDT.

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While the weather will cooperate for cleanup operations across much of New York state and New England into early Friday, downpours are forecast to frequent areas farther south to the point of raising the risk of flooding.

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Trees and power lines are scattered across a road in Newburgh, N.Y., Wednesday, May 16, 2018. Powerful storms pounded the Northeast on Tuesday with torrential rain and marble-sized hail, leaving at least two people dead and hundreds of thousands of homes and businesses without power. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

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A large tree that brought down power lines and caused a road closure in Hackettstown, New Jersey. (Photo/Hackettstown Police)

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A truck that was blown on its side during a tornado-warned thunderstorm. (Photo/Marc Stempka)

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A shelf cloud over Bel Air, Maryland, as a severe thunderstorm approached the city on Tuesday evening. (Photo/@ravensjeff)

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Commuters are stranded in Grand Central Terminal during the evening commute, Tuesday, May 15, 2018, in New York. The Metro-North commuter railroad said Tuesday evening that downed trees across the tracks had caused it to suspend service on its Harlem, Hudson and New Haven lines. (AP Photo/Donald King)

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A large tree that fell in Goshen, New York. (Photo/Jackson Diglio)

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A plethora of dime-sized hail in Saugerties, New York. (Photo/@CourtFall)

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A large sign along a highway that was bent during a storm in Fishkill, New York. (Photo/Margaret Kiernan)

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A roof blew off of a building in Newburgh, New York. (Photo/Mario Garcia)

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