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Severe storms that raked parts of the Midwest, spawning nearly two dozen tornadoes and killing at least three people, were rolling across the eastern part of the country Wednesday, snarling air travel in some of the region's biggest cities.
The National Weather Service said an area up and down the East Coast from Georgia to Pennsylvania was at significant risk of severe thunderstorms late Wednesday afternoon into Thursday. The region includes Philadelphia, Atlanta, Washington, D.C., and Charlotte, North Carolina, and is home to about 26 million people overall.
Charlotte-Douglas International Airport halted all takeoffs and departures for a short time as the storm system swept through early Wednesday evening, the Federal Aviation Administration confirmed. Delays as long as an hour and a half were reported at the three New York City-area airports and at the Philadelphia and Atlanta airports.
The storms also caused notable wind damage. Strong winds downed trees and power lines in the Washington area, where almost 32,000 customers were without power late Wednesday afternoon in the capital and its Virginia and Maryland suburbs.
In northwest Washington, a tree fell on a car, which then crashed into a pickup truck, NBC Washington reported. The first driver was treated for minor injuries.
The wind blew over two semi trucks Wednesday morning on Interstate 75 near Lexington, Kentucky. The drivers weren't reported to have been injured, but traffic on the freeway was blocked for almost two hours, NBC station WLEX reported.
Meanwhile, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, which straddles Tennessee and North Carolina, closed all roads Wednesday afternoon because of the danger of high winds.
It's the same storm system that moved Tuesday across the Midwest, where it was linked to two deaths in Illinois and a third in Perry County, Missouri. Dramatic video showed how overturned and crushed cars littered the side of Interstate 55 in Perry County.
In total, tornado watchers reported 22 twisters across Illinois, Missouri, Iowa, Tennessee and Indiana on Tuesday, the National Weather Service said.
Country music star Carrie Underwood, who lives in Nashville, Tennessee, was among the people who woke up overnight to find their homes damaged.
"Woke up to tornado sirens and hail...our chimney is currently in our driveway...tree limbs everywhere...feels like home," she tweeted.
Raymond Bowling of Austin, Indiana, said he was shaken after a tree limb dropped through his home's ceiling and into his bathroom. He would have been hit standing in that exact spot if he hadn't slept in, he told NBC station WAVE of Louisville, Kentucky.
"I had actually stood up to go to the bathroom to get ready for work but decided to let the snooze go off one more time and laid back down," Bowling said. "I never do that. The limb came through literally minutes later before the snooze went off again. And that's exactly where I would have been standing. Good Lord is looking out for me today."