At least one person was killed and eight injured as a winter storm raked the eastern U.S., knocking out power, tying up air traffic from Atlanta to New York and sending temperatures soaring in much of the Northeast.
The high temperature in New York City was forecast to reach 60 degrees Fahrenheit (16 Celsius), shy of the record 64 for the day set in 2006, before a cold front brings heavy rain, strong wind and colder air, said David Stark, a National Weather Service meteorologist in Upton, New York.
“Tonight, with that cold front, we are going to see the potential for some strong, gusty winds,” Stark said. “Also, there is the potential for some small-stream and urban-type flooding, particularly across New York City and the lower Hudson Valley.”
High wind and flood warnings and advisories stretch from West Virginia to Maine, while a tornado watch was posted from Alabama to Virginia as the front advances across the U.S.
One man was killed in Adairsville, Georgia, about 60 miles north of Atlanta, when a tornado struck the town, overturning cars and wrecking buildings, according to the U.S. Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Oklahoma. At least eight people were injured in Calhoun, Georgia.
Air traffic at Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport has been delayed more than 90 minutes because of thunderstorms, while poor visibility has led to waits of more than two hours in New York, Newark, New Jersey, and Philadelphia, according to the Federal Aviation Administration website.
At Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport, delays of about an hour have been reported.
As of 5 p.m. New York time, 687 U.S. flights had been canceled, with the majority of those occurring at Philadelphia, LaGuardia and O’Hare, according to FlightAware, a Houston-based flight data tracking company.
Wind gusts in New York may reach 55 miles (88 kilometers) per hour and an inch of rain may fall, according to the weather service. Gusts may reach 49 mph in Boston and 46 mph in Philadelphia.
Washington is expected to have sustained winds of as much as 28 mph later today.
A daily record high of 63 degrees was set in Chicago yesterday, breaking the old mark posted in 1914, according to the weather service. The forecast high in Chicago today is 38 and the low is expected to fall to 16.
New York and the rest of the East Coast are about to experience that shift in temperatures as well, Stark said. By tomorrow, the high in New York will be in the 40s with a low of 28. The normal high in New York is about 39, he said.
“We’re about 20 degrees above that for highs,” Stark said. “Right now, our forecast doesn’t show any records, which is 64, but we could see it come very close to that.”
Boston’s temperature was 60 at 4 p.m. The low in two days will be 19, according to the weather service. Philadelphia reported 67 degrees and expects tomorrow’s low to fall to 28, and Washington reached 70 at 4 p.m. and will probably fall to a low of 31 tomorrow.
Winds toppled trees and power poles, leaving more than 63,000 homes and businesses without electricity from Florida to Pennsylvania as of about 2:30 p.m. New York time, according to data compiled by Bloomberg from utility websites and company spokesmen.
The largest number of power failures was in North Carolina and South Carolina, where Duke Energy Corp. reported more than 15,700 customers blacked out.