Two people lost their lives on Thursday as a result of severe weather moving across the United States from the Plains to the northeast. A possible twister ripped trees out of the ground and damaged several buildings in Elmira, New York. In Genessee, Pennsylvania, a woman was killed when she was hit by a falling tree at a camping area. In Brooklyn, New York, a man lost his life when debris fell from a church steeple that was struck by lightening. Wind speeds up to 70 miles per hour were reported near Albany, Ohio, the National Weather Service said Friday.
A swatch of severe thunderstorms raged across the Ohio Valley and into the mid-Atlantic states on Thursday, cutting off power to over 100,000 homes and businesses in Ohio, New York and Pennsylvania. Hundreds of flights were canceled in the affected areas Thursday with the most cancellations happening at New York’s LaGuardia airport. As the thunderstorms sent black, menacing clouds across cites and open countryside, hail ranging from the size of peas to quarter-size fell in some areas.
Thunderstorms continued to increase in coverage and intensity throughout the evening hours of Saturday across New Jersey and southern New England. These storms brought damaging winds again to New York City, Trenton, NJ, Philadelphia, PA, Washington DC and Cape Hatteras, North Carolina. The rainfall rates of some of these thunderstorms have been estimated at two to three inches per hour – causing many roads to flood, forcing their closure.
On Saturday, the National Weather Service said that severe thunderstorms accompanied by rain, hail and high winds could pass through mid-Pennsylvania. The service said that the showers and thunderstorms will be slow movers and that they have the capacity to produce heavy amounts of rainfall over a short period of time. The unstable weather is however, being forecast to move out of the state by Sunday morning – allowing for a gradual clearing and drying tend to begin on Sunday as high pressure moves in.
Drought conditions across much of the United States worsened over the weekend in spite of the rain that many areas got. The parts of the drought-stricken country that got two to three inches of rain this week are still under droughts as they need between nine and twelve inches of rain to return to normal soil moisture conditions. A few rainy days is simply not enough water to make any significant improvements.