Several tornadoes, high winds and hail brought down power lines and trees and damaged buildings across the U.S. Midwest, even as the chance of a massive rare storm dwindled, according to the U.S. Storm Prediction Center.
The threat of dangerous weather was reduced to moderate from high earlier in the day by the storm center, as various thunderstorms sweeping the region had failed to merge into a powerful wind storm known as a derecho.
Forecasters were "not as confident in the evolution of a long-lived derecho per earlier outlooks," according to an outlook released last night by the center in Norman, Okla. "If or when these storms ultimately evolve into a squall line, then the threat of damaging winds could increase markedly."
The center has received at least 16 tornado reports in Iowa, Illinois and Ohio, along with 79 instances of hail from as far west as Wyoming and as far east as Virginia. There were also numerous reports of strong winds snapping trees, flipping boats and tearing off roofs, including a Wal-Mart in Lake Delton, Wis.
At least 528 flights in and out of Chicago’s O’Hare International and Midway airports were canceled, according to FlightAware, a Houston-based airline tracking service.
At least 32,000 customers in Chicago and its suburbs were without power as of 9:30 p.m. local time, Commonwealth Edison Co. said on its website. An additional 34,500 outages were reported in Indiana, according to a statement from Northern Indiana Public Service Co. in Merrillville, Indiana.
As of 10 p.m. New York time yesterday, tornado watches stretched from Iowa to western Pennsylvania and Maryland, according to the National Weather Service. Flood watches and warnings reached from Iowa to Massachusetts because the larger storm system is expected to bring heavy rain storms along the U.S. East Coast.
New York may still receive 2.5 to 3.5 inches of rain, with some isolated areas getting as much as 5 inches, according to the weather service.
Ground already saturated by earlier rains could easily flood as more precipitation falls, according to a weather service flash flood watch issued for Washington.