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Severe storms knocked out power to hundreds of thousands in eastern US

By Brian Lada, AccuWeather meteorologist and staff writer
June 21, 2019, 10:25:43 AM EDT


Severe thunderstorms roared from Georgia through New Jersey on Thursday afternoon, leaving behind widespread power outages and disruptive flooding across the region.

Over 3,500 flights were delayed in the eastern U.S. on Thursday, according to Flightstats, with a majority of the delays being reported at airports around New York City. Airports, such as Newark and JFK airports were subject to ground delays as rain and storms moved through the city.

The worst of the storms focused on the Carolinas with many storms whipping up winds past 50 mph, strong enough to bring down trees and power lines. Around 145,000 were without power in North Carolina and South Carolina on Thursday evening, accounting for more than two-thirds of the outages across the eastern U.S. Over 215,000 were without power in the East on Thursday evening, according to poweroutage.us.

columbia tree

A large tree crashed down onto a home in Columbia, South Carolina, during Thursday's severe storms. Thankfully, no one was injured. (Photo/Columbia Fire Department)


Columbia, South Carolina, was one of the cities hit hardest by severe storms. One weather station near the city clocked a wind gust of 79 mph, winds more commonly seen in a Category 1 hurricane. A 78-mph wind gust was also measured in Duck, North Carolina, as the storms rolled through.

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Farther north, flash flooding posed a larger issue. This came right on the heels of significant flooding in New Jersey on Wednesday night and Thursday morning.

The water level on the northern branch of Rancoas Creed at Pemberton, New Jersey, spiked into major flood state on Thursday evening, nearing 4.5 feet. This is just shy of the all-time record of 4.9 feet.

In New York City, water poured from the ceiling in Grand Central Terminal as heavy thunderstorms moved through the area.

Roads turned into rivers as a line of drenching thunderstorms soaked southeastern Pennsylvania and New Jersey, slowing the Thursday evening commute across the Interstate 95 corridor. Water rescues were conducted in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, due to flash flooding.

Philadelphia’s 48-hour rainfall total topped 4.6 inches in the wake of the storms, which is significantly higher than the city’s typical rainfall in the entire month of June. As of Thursday evening, the city’s total rainfall this June was 7.71 inches.

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(The 48-hour rainfall total was as of 7 p.m. EDT Thursday)


Dry weather is forecast to return to much of the region on Friday, giving residents a break from the unrelenting wet weather pattern and allowing floodwaters to recede.

This drier pattern may persist into the first full week of summer.

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“As a whole, next week will feature much longer dry periods and less frequent storms when compared to this week,” AccuWeather Meteorologist Renee Duff said.

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