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Cleanup Underway After Storm System Kills 8 in South, Blows Into Northeast

A deadly storm that sparked dozens of tornadoes across the Southeast focused its fury on the Northeast early Thursday.

Americans in more than a dozen states faced the heartbreaking task of cleaning up Thursday afternoon after a dangerous storm system swept the Gulf Coast to the Northeast, spawning killer tornadoes.

At least nine people were killed with as many as 48 tornadoes reported on Tuesday and Wednesday, and the storm system threatened to topple more trees as a brutal line of winds plowed through Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York.

Virginia saw the majority of deaths — four — and residents were struggling to keep stock of what they lost as they sifted through the debris.

PHOTOS: Storm System Wreaks Havoc From Gulf Coast to Northeast

In Louisiana, Sugar Hill RV Park owner Mark Anderson was thankful for his life after a tornado reportedly flipped campers and crushed cars at his property in Convent, a small community west of New Orleans along the Mississippi River.

"I'm a survivor. You can rebuild all these parks, you can rebuild buildings, you can buy new RVs," he told The Weather Channel. "You can't replace life. That's a tragedy."

Tens of thousands of customers remained without power Thursday afternoon as the storm was poised to move offshore.

Utility companies reported that more than 138,200 customers in Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Virginia and Maine were without power as of noon ET.

Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut and other parts of New England remained in its crosshairs early Thursday. Severe thunderstorm watches and warnings were issued for Boston, Cape Cod, Nantucket and Providence while parts of upstate New York, Vermont and New Hampshire were under flood warnings.

By noon ET, more than 380 flights had been canceled across the nation, around 110 of them at New York's LaGuardia Airport, according to FlightAware.

The storm caused more travel chaos in New York on Wednesday when semi-trailer truck overturned on the George Washington Bridge — delaying traffic for as long as 1½ hours.

The National Weather Service also briefly issued rare tornado watches for eastern parts of Pennsylvania and western parts of New Jersey.

Also on Wednesday, a tree fell onto a Metro-North train in New York's Westchester County, NBC New York reported. Delays of up to 20 minutes were reported on several lines.

Another tree crashed through the ceiling of a day-care center in Vineland, New Jersey, and came to rest in a baby room with four cribs, according to NBC Philadelphia. No children were inside at the time.

In Lancaster County, Philadelphia, police received reports that two 600-foot-long chicken houses had collapsed and some homes and a barn were damaged, the local 911 dispatcher told NBC News early Thursday.

No injuries were reported but some roads had been closed because of flooding in the area.

The storm was set to move out over the Atlantic Ocean later Thursday morning, but gusty winds of up to 50 mph would likely persist in its wake in Boston and other areas, according to Weather Channel lead forecaster Michael Palmer.

The storm was the third punch from a single angry weather system that was blamed for killing at least nine people from Louisiana to New Jersey. Six of them died Wednesday:

  • Three people, including a 2-year-old boy, were killed when a large funnel cloud hit the town of Waverly, Virginia, 40 miles southeast of Richmond, at about 2:40 p.m. Wednesday, state police said.
  • The body of a man who'd been missing since a funnel cloud destroyed his home was found Wednesday night in Appomattox County, Virginia, authorities said. The funnel cloud cut an 8- to 10-mile path of destruction through the area injuring seven other people, two of them seriously.
  • A tree fell onto a man a death in Darlington County, South Carolina, the county coroner told NBC News. He was identified as Michael James Sr.
  • A pedestrian was struck and killed by a vehicle in Morris Township, New Jersey, while crossing an intersection just before 8 p.m. Wednesday, the Morris Township Police Department told NBC News. Weather was a contributing factor in the person's death, according to police.

Crews in Virginia, meanwhile, continued working early Thursday to rescue several people trapped in storm wreckage in Tappahannock, 40 miles southwest of Richmond, NBC station WWBT reported. State police said more than 20 people were being treated at Riverside Tappahannock Hospital.

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Meanwhile, a winter storm had brought more than 10 inches of snow to parts of Illinois and Michigan, and more than half a foot to Arkansas, Missouri and Indiana by Wednesday night.

Flights in and out of Chicago's O'Hare airport saw more delays Thursday, with about 38 flights canceled — a dip from the more than 1,000 canceled when the brunt of the storm hit Wednesday.

This weather was set to shift east, dumping up to six inches of snow in parts of the Great Lakes and interior New England through Thursday, according to The Weather Channel.