Severe thunderstorms leave a trail of destruction across Midwest and Northeast, more than 600 000 without power, U.S.


Severe thunderstorms and strong winds left a trail of destruction across the U.S.' Midwest and Northeast on Wednesday, June 10, 2020. More than 600 000 power outages were reported across Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Pennsylvania, and Kentucky.

Storms began to rumble over central Indiana and western Michigan before Wednesday noon, eventually forming into a line of severe thunderstorms stretching more than 480 km (300 miles) long. Some locations in the state saw gusts in excess of 113 km/h (70 mph).

In Illinois, hail measuring 5 cm (2 inches) in diameter and rain battered a few communities, with the small town of Dyer particularly hit hard.

"Multiple large trees were downed in the Dyer and Munster community areas of far northwest Indiana," the National Weather Service (NWS) Chicago reported.

"We received a report of 5 cm (2 inches) diameter hail just west of the state line there by Dyer and that hail shattered a windshield," said meteorologist Ricky Castro. "Also in that area, they got 54 mm (2.13 inches) of rain in 30 minutes."

"The hail report was windblown hail but the winds were probably near or over 97 km/h (60 mph) along with the hail. The storm was quite as intense at that point," he added.

Power lines were downed in the county of Kankakee and closer to the Dyer area. According to Castro, there were also reports of some flash flooding intense rain in a short period, which is not common.

"The May 17 widespread flash flooding, we had similar type rainfall rates. That day I think the observer near Midway Airport had over an inch in 15 minutes."

He continued, "It’s rare to get rainfall rates that high but I guess it’s been a little more common in recent years."

In Ohio, a portion of the Sandusky State Theater collapsed due to strong winds. Much of the roof was gone and falling bricks hit several cars parked on the street.

In Michigan, at least two semis were blown over in Gratiot and one in Zeeland. Two trucks were also overturned in Lagrange, Indiana, and one near Bryan, Ohio.

"The wind was blowing like I’ve never seen it before on the front porch," said Michigan village president Terry Weik. "The tree lifted up, it twisted, and it came at me so quick."

The tree went through the roof and crashed near the bed where Weik's son was sleeping. Fortunately, no one was hurt.

As of 02:00 UTC on June 11 (22:00 LT on June 10), about 320 000 power outages were reported in Michigan, more than 210 000 in Ohio, 40 000 in Indiana, and 15 000 both in Pennsylvania and Kentucky.

"Warm and humid weather together with scattered thunderstorms along the Eastern Seaboard will move rather slowly to the east as a cold front slows down and becomes stationary across the Mid-Atlantic into the Southeast on Friday (June 12)," NWS said.

Showers and thunderstorms are expected to continue into the weekend across the coastal sections of the Carolinas, Georgia, and into northern Florida.

Featured image credit: Erie County Skywarn

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