Winter storm slams East Coast, leaves 200,000 without power – NBC News

Some 200,000 were without power in the eastern United States on Monday morning after a major winter storm swept through the region, spurring multiple tornadoes in Florida.

The storm, which brought snow to the northern Plains and the Upper Midwest over the weekend, appeared to spur thousands of flight cancellations between Sunday and Monday.

In North Carolina, it also appeared to play a role in the deaths of two people on Sunday after a vehicle veered off the Interstate 95 before striking several trees in a median.

Nearly 700 miles south in southwest Florida, multiple tornadoes were blamed for destroying more than two dozen homes and damaging others in Lee County on the Gulf Coast, while thousands of homes were left without power.

Residents of Century 21 in the Iona area of Florida embrace after a tornado touched down on Sunday. Andrew West / Reuters

According to the National Weather Service in Miami, there were “multiple tornadoes” in Southwest Florida Sunday morning. NBC News has contacted the weather service for more information.

Speaking at a news conference that day, Cecil Pendergrass, co-chairman of the county’s board of commissioners, said at four people were injured, while more than 60 homes had been rendered “unlivable” by the tornadoes, according to The Miami Herald.

Pendergrass said the EF2 tornado had also left around 7,000 homes without power. By early Monday morning, just under 1,150 homes in Florida appeared to be without power, according to online tracker PowerOutage.us.

Meanwhile, more than 187,000 customers in other states across the eastern U.S. had also been left without power as of early Monday morning, according to PowerOutage.us.

Tens of thousands of homes in Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania and New York were affected, with more than 60,000 customers left without power in the Carolinas alone.

A snow plow clears the sidewalk along Main St. in Greenville, South Carolina, on Sunday.Sean Rayford / Getty Images

The storm also appeared to force the cancellation of thousands of flights across Sunday and Monday.

On Sunday, more than 3,000 flights into, out of and within the U.S. were canceled, according to flight tracker FlightAware. By early morning Monday, more than 1,200 flights were canceled for the day.

A spokesperson for American Airlines said the company had canceled around 580 flights across its mainline and regional operation for Monday.

“This weekend’s winter storm has had a significant impact on our operation,” a spokesperson for American Airlines said. They added that the vast majority of impacted flights were canceled in advance “so we could proactively notify and accommodate our customers and avoid last-minute disruptions at the airport.”

The spokesperson said customers whose travel plans have been impacted by the storm are able to rebook without change fees.

A spokesperson for Delta Air Lines said the company also proactively canceled around 500 flights systemwide on Sunday and 75 on Monday “in anticipation of winter weather impacting our operations.”

The airline said it expected to be able to resume regular operations by Monday afternoon, adding that of the customers’ flights that were impacted, more than 90 percent had been given new scheduled flight times within eight hours of their original flight.

The storm system further wreaked havoc on roadways, with two people killed in a crash in Nash County, North Carolina, NBC affiliate WRAL-TV reported.

The North Carolina State Highway Patrol said the incident had unfolded just before 7:30 a.m. on Sunday, with a driver traveling on the Interstate 95 southbound veering off the road and striking several trees in a median, the station reported.

Both the driver and a passenger were pronounced dead at the scene they said, asserting that exceeding a safe speed for the conditions was believed to be a factor in the crash.

A dramatic scene also unfolded in Durham, North Carolina, on Sunday, with pictures showing a tractor-trailer hanging off a bridge after sliding off the North Carolina Highway 147.

The driver of the vehicle was taken to hospital, but is expected to be okay, WRAL-TV reported.

Marty Homan with the North Carolina Department of Transportation said structural engineers would need to evaluate the bridge before reopening, the station reported. The North Carolina State Highway Patrol  did not immediately respond to a request for more information.

A tractor-trailer slid off the N.C. Highway 147 bridge in Durham, late Sunday. via WRAL

The incidents came as Gov. Roy Cooper warned drivers in the state to “stay put.”

“The best way to avoid a car accident or getting stranded is to stay put,” said Gov. Roy Cooper said in a statement on Sunday. “Fewer people on the road means fewer car crashes, plus it allows highway crews and utility workers to get faster results,” he said.

By early Monday morning, the storm system had reached the Northeast and is expected to move into Southeastern Canada by Tuesday, according to the National Weather Service.

The weather service said the system was expected to produce heavy snow over parts of the Lower Great Lakes, Central Appalachians, and the Northeast on Monday, with rain also expected over the coastal and inland parts of Southern/northern New England.

By Tuesday morning, “scattered areas of light snow” are expected to be seen over parts of the Central Appalachians, extending to higher elevations in the Northeast.

The weather service warned that “heavy snow” was also expected across parts of the Upper Mississippi Valley, near Lake Superior and across Michigan’s Upper Peninsula on Tuesday into Wednesday.


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