Millions facing severe weather risk as storms charge toward Atlantic coast

·4 min read

AccuWeather forecasters say severe thunderstorms will converge on coastal areas of New England and the mid-Atlantic into Monday evening. The intense storms, which will also stretch back to Kentucky and Tennessee, will put tens of millions at risk.

As the cold front responsible for the unsettled weather tracks eastward, severe storms are forecast to shift from the Interstate 95 corridor to many of the beaches. While the storms are set to bring an end to the scorching heat wave that is ongoing in the region, it will come with a threat of damaging winds, hail and perhaps even a tornado.

During the early hours of Monday morning, a round of strong storms was ongoing in parts of the interior Northeast. In northwestern Pennsylvania, several tornado warnings were issued as a particularly intense storm moved near Warren, Pennsylvania, though it wasn't immediately clear if a tornado did touch down.

"The greatest risk for severe thunderstorms along the Eastern Seaboard until around dusk Monday evening will be in two main zones," AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Dave Dombek said. "One zone will be focused on southeastern New England and the other will extend from southeastern Virginia to the Delmarva Peninsula."

Isolated severe storms can occur in between both areas and multiple storms are likely toward the southern Appalachians and the Ohio Valley into Monday evening.

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"Like in previous days, severe storms tend to be most likely where the best overlap between warm, moist air and a strong jet stream occurs. Into Monday evening, this looks to line up over the busy urban corridor in the Northeast, stretching roughly from Washington, D.C. northward up the coast, even up through portions of Maine," AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Matt Rinde explained.

Meetings in the Washington, D.C. metro area have already been impacted as a result of the storms, as some United States senators were unable to arrive at the lawmaking hub, prompting a delay on a bill vote until Tuesday morning.

Given the timing of these storms, the busy evening commutes in many cities may be impacted, with storms potentially acting to snarl traffic during rush hour. Travel was already severely hampered at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York City, with storms prompting arriving flight delays that averaged longer than 90 minutes.

Toward the southwest, additional storms are also likely to form in Virginia. Thunderstorms may not be as widespread in these areas, but any storm that develops could become intense very quickly. Those caught in storms while traveling are cautioned to never seek shelter under a bridge or overpass and never drive through flooded roadways.

Damaging wind gusts, hail and flooding rainfall will be the main threats with any Monday storms, forecasters say.

As the front continues to push southeastward into Tuesday, the Northeast will finally be able to enjoy calm, seasonable weather. However, storms will be possible farther south across a broad area, and at least a few may turn severe from southern Illinois all the way east to the Atlantic coast.

While the coverage of severe storms is expected to be smaller than on previous days, the most intense storms may be capable of damaging wind gusts at times. With the front expected to slow down and eventually stall, multiple rounds of thunderstorms may lead to a threat of flash flooding, especially in low-lying areas.

Monday's severe weather danger follows an active weekend of storms across parts of the Midwest and Northeast.

The first dangerous storms of the weekend formed early Saturday morning and went on to impact the greater Chicago area. Numerous severe thunderstorm warnings were plastered across the area as damaging storms tore through around daybreak Saturday. Tornado warnings were also issued Saturday morning.

This area of storms was responsible for hundreds of wind damage reports that were sent to the Storm Prediction Center (SPC) on Saturday, stretching from Indiana to western Virginia. Damage reports ranged from tree limbs down in places to broken power poles.

Severe storms rolled into Sunday as well, with an intense line of storms rolling through portions of the Midwest and Northeast. From Northeast Ohio to western Massachusetts, over 150 damaging wind reports were logged by the Storm Prediction Center. In that area, over 77,000 customers were without power early Monday morning, according to PowerOutage.US. During the midday hours, the number of power outages had dipped but is likely to increase substantially along the I-95 zone of the Northeast into Monday evening.

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