The deadly storm system that ravaged Arkansas and Mississippi with tornadoes and pounded Florida with record floods delivered one last punch to the Northeast as it finished its sweep across the country.
A section of street in Baltimore, saturated by two days of rain, collapsed on Wednesday, sending cars, street lights and pieces of sidewalk plunging onto train tracks below. The mayor said the city was “extremely blessed” that no one was killed.
In Laurel, Md., hundreds of people were evacuated from homes and hotel rooms as the floodwater rose. Engineers opened a dam on the Patuxent River after water gushed through a joint and onto a construction site nearby, NBC Washington reported.
In New York, LaGuardia airport recorded more than 5 inches of rain, the second-heaviest total on record for an April day. And in Boston, the Thursday morning commute was a soggy nightmare.
The good news: After five days and at least 38 weather-related deaths, most of them from twisters in the Deep South, it was almost over.
“The big storm is finally winding down,” said Kevin Roth, lead meteorologist for The Weather Channel. Even in the Northeast, he said, “it’s not going to last all day.”
As the storm pushed out, meteorologists compiled the incredible totals. The system spawned 79 tornadoes from Sunday through Wednesday, according to a preliminary survey by Greg Forbes, a severe weather expert for The Weather Channel.
That included two twisters rated as EF-4s, the second-highest classification on the tornado scale. EF-4s have wind of 166 to 200 mph. Seven tornadoes were rated as EF-3s, with wind of 136 to 165 mph.
Before this week, tornado season was off to a quiet start: No one had been killed, and no tornadoes of EF-3 strength or greater had been recorded.
— Erin McClam
First published May 1 2014, 5:06 AM