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Severe Storms Wreaked Havoc Across the Eastern United States

Severe storms wreaked havoc across the eastern United States on Monday, resulting in at least two fatalities. The widespread impact included the cancellation or delay of thousands of U.S. flights, leaving travelers stranded, and more than 1.1 million homes and businesses plunged into darkness due to power outages.

The National Weather Service issued a tornado watch encompassing the greater D.C. area, effective until 9 p.m. A special weather statement from the agency warned of an imminent threat of highly destructive hurricane-force winds, coupled with the potential for substantial hail and even powerful tornadoes.

The storms’ influence was staggering, as tornado watches and alerts were spread across 10 states, spanning from Tennessee to New York. The National Weather Service noted that over 29.5 million individuals were within the tornado watch zone during the Monday afternoon.

In Anderson, South Carolina, a 15-year-old boy, seeking refuge from the storm at his grandparents’ residence, was fatally struck by a falling tree as he exited a vehicle, according to a statement from the Anderson County Office of the Coroner.

Meanwhile, in Florence, Alabama, reports from WAAY-TV indicated that a 28-year-old man lost his life after being struck by lightning.

Over 2,600 U.S. flights were cancelled and nearly 7,900 delayed by Monday night, as reported by FlightAware, a flight tracking service. Among the hardest-hit airports was Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, which was grappling with disruptions from the preceding day’s storms.

The Federal Aviation Administration took the precaution of rerouting planes away from the storm-ridden path toward the East Coast.

The severe weather conditions prompted the White House to advance President Joe Biden’s departure time for his four-day trip to Arizona, New Mexico, and Utah by 90 minutes. Additionally, a back-to-school cybersecurity event featuring First Lady Jill Biden, Education Secretary Miguel Cardona, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, and various education professionals was cancelled.

To ensure safety, the Office of Personnel Management announced the early departure of all non-emergency federal employees before 3 p.m., when federal offices shut down.

National Weather Service meteorologist Chris Strong described the situation as one of the most impactful severe weather events in the Mid-Atlantic region in quite some time, during a Facebook live briefing.

The storms disrupted a Major League Baseball game between the Phillies and the Washington Nationals in Philadelphia had to be postponed. In Maryland, the National Weather Service issued a flash flood warning extending into Tuesday after an intense downpour of 4 inches (10.2 centimeters) of rain occurred in a brief time span.

As evening descended, over 1.1 million customers were grappling with power outages across a slew of states including Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, West Virginia, and Virginia—all along the path of the storm system, as indicated by poweroutage.us. The Knoxville Utilities Board expressed that the extent of damage across its Tennessee service area was substantial, estimating that repairs would take several days.

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