After wreaking havoc all week, deadly winter storm exits just in time for the weekend

The major weather headlines with this storm on Friday will be snow from the Tennessee River Valley to Maine, and high winds along the eastern seaboard.

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By Kathryn Prociv

Intense thunderstorms and heavy rainfall wreaked havoc across the southeastern United States early Friday, killing at least five people and cutting power to more than 300,000 homes and businesses.

Forecasters warned the severe weather system could bring snow from the Tennessee River Valley to Maine, along with fierce winds along the entire eastern seaboard.

Nearly 40 million people were under winter storm alerts from northern Mississippi to Maine, with another 83 million people under wind alerts from Florida to Massachusetts. But the system is expected to settle down by the weekend.

There were eight tornado reports and more than 140 damaging wind reports across several states. Greenville, South Carolina, picked up nearly 6 inches of rain Thursday — making it the city's wettest day in 15 years.

At least four people died in vehicles that were struck by falling trees or lost control in rain-slicked roads or floods, according to The Associated Press.

Heavy snow was expected to continue swamping a swath of the east, from west-central New York to northern Maine, with additional snow piling up 2 to 6 inches from Pennsylvania to Maine and parts of northern New England getting 9 to 12 inches.

On the wet side of the system, the heavy rain will end from south to north along the I-95 corridor through Friday, with all rain off the coast by Friday evening.

Even though the rain will end, winds will howl into the overnight hours. Wind gusts up to 50 mph are forecast for cities like Washington, D.C., and Boston, while New York City could see wind gusts as high as 60 mph.

New York City is under a high wind warning through this evening. These high winds will cause air delays at all the major hubs, and some bumpy rides for any travelers who take to the air today.

On Saturday, with the exception of lingering snow showers across New England, the region will be much drier and cooler with highs 5-10 degrees below average.

Daniel Arkin contributed.