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Deadly April storm batters Northeast, snarling travel and knocking out power to half a million

Five million people are under wind alerts across New England and 8 million are under winter alerts Thursday.
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A powerful April storm is hitting the Northeast on Thursday, dumping rain and snow with howling tropical force winds, prompting major airport delays and whiteout road conditions, and knocking out power to over half a million customers.

The strong storm system has been crawling across the U.S. since the weekend — and has already led to several weather-related deaths.

In Pennsylvania, two people died in separate incidents in which a tree fell on the car they were in during Wednesday’s storms. An elderly man died in Delaware County, and an elderly woman, described as in her early 80s, was also killed in Collegeville, Pennsylvania, NBC Philadelphia reported.

Another death was reported in Armonk, New York, Wednesday evening after a tree fell onto a car, killing the operator, North Castle police said. 

As of Thursday morning, the system is making its way out of the Northeast, with 5 million people under wind alerts across New England and 8 million under winter alerts.

The system will produce heavy, wet snow over north-central New England and northeast New York and pass through Maine on Thursday, the National Weather Service Prediction Center forecast. An additional 12 inches of snowfall is possible through Friday.

A woman exits a tornado damaged building on April 3, 2024 in Sunbright, Tenn.
A woman exits a tornado-damaged building Wednesday in Sunbright, Tenn.Brett Carlsen / Getty Images

The system will create “significant impacts from heavy snow and wind,” and perilous travel due to whiteout conditions, snow-covered roads, tree damage and power outages, the NWS said.

Disrupted travel, crashes and power outages

Air travel has already been affected, with over 1,200 delays and over 300 cancellations inside, into or out of the U.S. reported, according to Flight Aware data — all amid a week of busy spring break bookings.

The storm system has also wreaked havoc on roads.

In New Hampshire, state troopers responded to three tractor-trailer rollover crashes in less than seven hours by late Wednesday. State police urged locals “to avoid unnecessary travel.” Massachusetts State Police also responded to multiple crashes Wednesday evening, describing road conditions as “poor.”

Powerful winds have whipped through the region since Wednesday, downing power lines and trees.

Nationally, over 500,000 customers are without power — including over 235,000 in Maine, 53,000 in West Virginia and over 51,000 in New York as of 8:30 a.m., according to PowerOutage.us.

By 2:30 p.m. ET, more than 640,000 were without power with over 334,000 out in Maine and over 173,000 out in New Hampshire.

In New Hampshire as of early Thursday, more than 100,000 customers were without power, the state’s division of homeland security and emergency management said. The agency’s State Emergency Operations Center has been activated in response to the storm.

New York State Electric and Gas, which serves the upstate region, said Wednesday’s severe weather led to 180 downed wires and more than 30 broken poles.

“NYSEG pre-staged more than 2,100 additional line workers and tree personnel across its service areas in preparation for the storm and are currently shifting resources to support its hardest hit areas,” the company said.

Utility company National Grid said it was responding to stormy conditions in upstate New York by increasing staffing, extending overnight shifts, bringing in additional resources from other states and Canada, and pre-staging crews in areas anticipated to be “most severely impacted.”

In Brookfield, Connecticut, a mother and her three kids narrowly escaped injury Wednesday when stormy winds caused a tree to fall on their car, completely crushing it.

In Maine, where heavy snow is forecast, Gov. Janet Mills directed all state offices to be closed Thursday and urged locals to “take proper precautions and to prepare for possible power outages.”

Lightning strikes the Statue of Liberty in New York on Apri 3, 2024.
Lightning strikes the Statue of Liberty in New York on Wednesday.@dantvusa via Twitter

More wind, rain and snow

The storm has already drenched much of the Northeast, with a daily record of 1.75 inches recorded at New York City’s LaGuardia Airport on Wednesday, 1.55 inches in Central Park, 1.49 inches in Philadelphia, and 1.84 inches in Newark, New Jersey.

Even Lady Liberty was hit by rumbling thunderstorms, struck by a bolt of lightning Wednesday evening around 6 p.m. in a stunning moment captured by a photographer from Liberty State Park in New Jersey.

The system has also brought with it dangerously high winds, with a gust of 67 mph reported Wednesday in Nantucket, Massachusetts, 64 mph in Stamford, Connecticut, 59 mph in Manhattan and 54 mph in Boston.

Winds are forecast to stay strong through Thursday, with isolated wind gusts of 50-60 mph possible especially for coastal New England.

People with umbrellas during heavy rain in New York on April 3, 2024.
People with umbrellas during heavy rain in New York on Wednesday.Angela Weiss / AFP - Getty Images

Alerts for minor to moderate coastal flooding also remain in effect through Thursday evening for 26 million from the Delmarva Peninsula to the Maine coast.

The system will slowly move off the Northeast coast by Saturday.