A winter storm hits the east coast and leaves 200,000 people without power


More than 200,000 customers were without power Monday morning in the eastern United States after a major winter storm swept through the region, sparking multiple tornadoes in Florida.

The storm, which brought snow to the Northern Plains and Upper Midwest over the weekend, appeared to lead to thousands of flight cancellations on Sunday and Monday.

In North Carolina, transportation department told residents to stay home and not drive on flooded and icy roads on Monday.

The dreaded black ice made driving especially dangerous near the North Carolina-Tennessee border, North Carolina Emergency Management officials said.

Storms in North Carolina seemed to play a role in the deaths of two people on Sunday after a vehicle veered off Interstate 95 and struck several trees in a median.

Multiple tornadoes in southwest Florida were accused of destroying more than two dozen homes and damaging others in Lee County on the Gulf Coast, while thousands of homes ended up without electricity.

Residents hug after a tornado touched down in the Iona area of ​​Florida on Sunday. Andrew West / Reuters

There were “several tornadoes” in southwest Florida on Sunday morning, the National Weather Service in Miami said.

Four people were injured, 34 homes were demolished and another 62 homes were rendered “unliveable,” Cecil Pendergrass, co-chairman of the Lee County Board of Commissioners, said Monday.

The misery was brightened by a small miracle, as Fort Myers resident Edward Murray feared his dog, Coco, had perished as a tornado ripped through his home, NBC affiliate WBBH reported.

“Coco was found safely” and the county “is working with those affected to provide shelter,” Pendergrass said.

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

The winter blast left more than 620,000 homes and businesses without power at one point Sunday, most in the Mid-Atlantic and Southeast, according to PowerOutage.us.

As of late Monday morning, about 230,000 customers across the country were still in the dark, the utility tracking service said. By late Monday afternoon, the number had fallen to around 122,000.

A snowplow clears the sidewalk along Main Street in Greenville, South Carolina on Sunday.Sean Rayford/Getty Images

The storm also appeared to cancel thousands of flights on Sunday and Monday.

More than 3,000 flights to, from and within the United States were canceled on Sunday, according to flight tracker FlightAware. And by late Monday afternoon, more than 1,600 US flights had been canceled for the day.

A spokesperson said American Airlines canceled about 580 flights on its mainline and regional routes Monday.

“This weekend’s winter storm had a significant impact on our operations,” the spokesperson said. The spokesperson added that the vast majority of affected flights were canceled in advance “so that we can proactively inform and welcome our customers and avoid last minute disruptions at the airport”.

The spokesperson said customers whose travel plans have been affected can rebook with no change fees.

A Delta Air Lines spokesperson said the company canceled about 500 flights systemwide on Sunday and 75 on Monday “in anticipation of winter conditions affecting our operations.”

The airline said it expected to be able to resume regular operations by Monday afternoon, adding that more than 90% of affected flights had received new regular flight schedules within eight hours of their scheduled departure times. original flight.

The storm system again wreaked havoc on the roads. Two people were killed in a crash in Nash County, North Carolina, NBC affiliate WRAL of Raleigh reported.

The State Highway Patrol said the incident happened just before 7:30 a.m. Sunday when the driver traveling southbound on I-95 veered off the road and hit several trees in the median, WRAL reported. .

The driver and a passenger were pronounced dead at the scene, Highway Patrol said, adding that exceeding a safe speed for the conditions would have been a factor.

A dramatic scene also unfolded in Durham on Sunday, where footage showed a tractor-trailer hanging from a bridge after sliding off NC Highway 147.

The driver was taken to hospital and is expected to be fine, WRAL reported.

Marty Homan of the state Department of Transportation said structural engineers would need to assess the bridge before it can be reopened, WRAL reported. Highway Patrol did not immediately respond to a request for additional information.

A tractor-trailer slid off the NC Highway 147 bridge in Durham on Sunday evening. through WRAL

Governor Roy Cooper warned drivers to “stay put”.

“The best way to avoid a car accident or get stuck is to stay put,” he said in a statement on Sunday. “Fewer people on the road means fewer car accidents, and it helps highway crews and utility workers get faster results,”

By early Monday, the storm system had reached northeast and was expected to move into southeastern Canada by Tuesday, according to the weather service.

He said the system is expected to produce heavy snowfall Monday over parts of the lower Great Lakes, central Appalachia and the northeast, with rain also expected over southern and northern coastal and interior parts of the region. New England.

By Tuesday morning, “patchy patches of light snow” are expected over parts of central Appalachia, extending to higher elevations in the northeast.

The Weather Service warned that heavy snowfall was also expected Tuesday through Wednesday in parts of the upper Mississippi Valley, near Lake Superior and in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

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