Storms kill 2, knock out power, downs trees on East Coast

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) — Storms that began on Halloween killed at least two people, caused flooding, downed trees and power lines and damaged homes from the Deep South to the Northeast on Friday.

The number of people without power — from South Carolina to Maine and in Ohio — was starting to creep down, but still more than 440,000 customers were without electricity Friday afternoon.

A man who was injured when a tree fell on his van later died, Tennessee officials said Friday. In New York, the body of a driver who was swept away on Thursday was found.

In a New York City suburb, a 9-year-old girl was injured on Halloween when she was hit by a falling tree while trick or treating. Another person was injured when a tornado touched down in Pennsylvania.

A tornado with winds of 111 to 135 miles per hour (180 to 220 kilometers per hour) tore through Glen Mills, a Delaware County suburb of Philadelphia, the National Weather Service confirmed.

Local officials say that at least two dozen homes were damaged and one person was injured. Investigators are still evaluating whether tornadoes touched down elsewhere in Pennsylvania.

By mid-afternoon Friday almost 90,000 homes and businesses were without electricity across Pennsylvania. In the western part of the state, storms caused flooding, mudslides and road closures. High winds Friday morning caused a car fire to spread to other vehicles in a hotel parking lot in Harmar Township, leaving six cars damaged, officials said.

WPXI-TV in Pittsburgh posted a video of a small school bus driving through floodwaters Thursday after a line of heavy rain came through a suburban neighborhood. The video showed water reaching above the headlights and near the hood of the bus, which the school district said was carrying students. The bus company told the station the driver was fired as a result. A message seeking comment was left with the bus company, ABC Transit

Several trees came down in New Jersey, which had almost 10,000 homes and businesses without power.

Almost 180,000 customers were without power in New York state after a night of heavy rain and wind gusts of up to 70 mph (110 kph).

Gov. Andrew Cuomo told Spectrum News on Friday that several hundred people were being evacuated in scattered areas around the state because of high waters. In the central New York village of Dolgeville, police had to use a boat to rescue people from a home. The Buffalo area, meanwhile, was dealing with flash flooding after 4 to 5 inches (10 to 13 centimeters) of rain.

In the Adirondacks, a state of emergency was declared in Essex County. Early voting for next week’s elections was called off Friday in some communities, small bridges were closed in several areas because of rising water, and many schools canceled classes for the day.

The weather also led to the cancellation of the opening session of the luge national championships at Mount Van Hoevenberg, which is Essex. USA Luge says Saturday’s races remain on schedule.

National Weather Service Meteorologist Conor Lahiff in Burlington, Vermont, said the amount of rainfall in some parts of northeastern New York and northern Vermont was almost double what had been forecast.

“We knew there would be rivers to come up because we had saturated soils,” said Lahiff.

A flood warning remained in effect for much of northern Vermont and officials expected flooding to continue into the evening. Dozens of roads have been closed across the state.

Electric utilities across Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine were busy restoring service to tens of thousands of customers who lost power due to high winds.

In Maine, more than 130,000 customers were without power Friday morning. In Vermont the number was more than 44,000 customers were without power, and in New Hampshire it was about 16,000.

Many schools across Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine delayed or canceled classes on Friday.

The Maine Emergency Management Agency warned that some residents will likely be in the dark into the weekend following winds that topped 70 mph (110 kph) in the coastal town of Castine.

The state’s largest utility, Central Maine Power, is getting help from crews for other utilities, including some in Canada, and is trying to line up even more help, but is struggling because there’s damage all over the region.

The storm comes two weeks after a similar storm two weeks ago left more than 200,000 homes and businesses in the dark in Maine.

In Orono, Maine, the state’s flagship university was again without power after coping with major outages during the October storm. The University of Maine announced on Friday morning that it was closed, and classes were canceled until 5 p.m.

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