‘Powerful’ storm dumps heavy rain over East Coast with 59M under flood alerts


A “powerful” storm lashed the mid-Atlantic coast Monday with heavy rain and thunderstorms, leaving 59 million people from Virginia to Maine under flood alerts, nearly 700,000 homes and businesses without power, and holiday travelers scrambling as airports report flight delays and cancellations. 

There’s a slight risk of excessive rainfall over parts of New England through Tuesday, the National Weather Service’s Weather Prediction Center warned.

Cars stranded in floodwaters Monday in Paterson, N.J.Kyle Mazza / NurPhoto via AP

“The associated heavy rain will create mainly localized areas of flash flooding, with urban areas, roads, and small streams the most vulnerable,” the weather service said. 

The same storm system battered Florida and the Carolinas with strong winds and torrential rain over the weekend — with Charleston breaking a daily record Sunday with 3.86 inches of rainfall and Gainesville, Florida, recording more than 7 inches. South Carolina also set a record for greatest storm surge from a non-tropical system with a high tide at nearly 10 feet. 

The East Coast is already reeling from the impacts with nearly 700,000 people across New England and New York without power as of 1 p.m., according to PowerOutage.us.

In New York City, a travel advisory is in effect due to flooding conditions on roads, power outages and high winds on bridges. The city’s emergency management office also warned of “imminent” flash flooding in Manhattan and the Bronx, warning locals to avoid basements and low-lying areas. 

“Please exercise caution with your morning commute. Take mass transit and stay off the roads if possible,” Mayor Eric Adams tweeted. 

Over 10,000 people in the Big Apple were without power due to the storm and there were over 200 reports of downed trees across the city, the NYC Emergency Management office said. 

In Connecticut, the city of Danbury’s Emergency Management office urged locals to not drive through flooded roads with water rescues and vehicles stuck in water reported. A part of Boston’s Massachusetts College of Art and Design’s Tower building exterior also sustained damage in the storm that led to falling debris. There were no injuries in the damage. 

Amtrak said train services were temporarily disrupted between Providence, Rhode Island, and Boston due to winter storm conditions causing “overhead power issues.”

Electricity company Central Maine Power shared dramatic photos of the storm damage across Maine today, showing downed structures and toppled trees blocking roads. 

In parts of New Jersey, flooded streams and creeks turned streets into rivers.

Water rescues were conducted in flooded parts of Hillsdale, New Jersey, Monday morning. The Hillsdale Fire Department shared a photo showing the rescue of a baby after a family’s home was impacted by floods. Captain Sean Smith told NBC News that Glendale Drive is a “flood zone, it hasn’t flooded this bad in a while.” 

Firefighter and police sergeant, Matthew Buesser, rescues a baby after the family’s home was hit with floods on Monday.Courtesy Captain Sean Smith of the Hillsdale, NJ Fire Department.

There’s more than 2,000 delays nationwide and more than 400 cancellations, a number likely to keep growing Monday ahead of holiday travel chaos that sees millions take to the skies a week ahead of Christmas, according to FlightAware data. It comes after a weekend that saw a dizzying number of delays — more than 10,000 — and almost 200 cancellations.

Thirty-eight million people in the Northeast are also under wind alerts. In the past 48 hours, New York’s LaGuardia Airport clocked a 54 mph wind gust; Brookhaven Calabro Airport in Shirley, New York, a 60 mph wind gust; and Boston Logan International Airport, a 51 mph gust. 

A ground stop was issued at Boston Logan International Airport due to wind that expired at 1 p.m. ET. 

By the end of today, every single state on the East Coast will have experienced at least two inches of rain. 

The threat of heavy rain will end Tuesday as the system moves further into Canada by Monday evening. 

Lake-effect snow downwind of the Great Lakes and upslope snow over parts of the northern and the central Appalachians are also in the forecast Monday through Wednesday, the weather service said.

The heaviest snow Monday will fall over parts of the central Appalachians, southwest of Lake Michigan in Michigan and Indiana, and along the central and the eastern shores of Lake Erie in Ohio and New York. The lake-effect snow will lighten up Tuesday and end over the upper Great Lakes, forecasters said.

Meanwhile, a storm is moving onshore over the West Coast on Monday that will also produce significant rainfall as well as snow in the Sierra Nevada Mountains over the next few days. 

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.

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