In a dramatic display of nature’s fury, tornado-spawning storms lashed the Southeast and Ohio Valley, claiming at least two lives and plunging over 400,000 homes and businesses into darkness. As Monday dawned, the storm threat loomed large from North Carolina to Philadelphia.
In southern Indiana’s Martin County, the severe storms on Sunday claimed a life, emergency management officials confirmed to The New York Times. Another individual was injured, and rescue operations were underway to assist anyone else in need, according to Monty Wolf, the Director of Martin County Emergency Management.
Meanwhile, in Atlanta, a 55-year-old man’s life was tragically cut short when a tree, uprooted by the severe weather, fell on him on Sunday evening, as reported by the local police and the National Weather Service office.
Powerless and in Peril: The Aftermath of the Tornadoes
In Bargersville, Indiana, a possible tornado outbreak, damaging dozens of homes and leaving residents with a grim warning of a two-day power outage.
The power outage crisis extended across the South, with over 90,000 customers each in Tennessee and Arkansas grappling with power loss as of Monday afternoon, according to PowerOutage.us. Approximately 50,000 customers in both Kentucky and Michigan were also without power.
As the storm system continued its eastward journey, over 90 million people found themselves under the threat of severe weather on Monday. Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington, DC, and Raleigh, North Carolina, were all included in the Level 3 of 5 enhanced risk area, bracing for multiple rounds of thunderstorms later in the day.
The Storm’s Path and the Heat Wave’s Grip
New York City, Charlotte, North Carolina, and Columbia, South Carolina, fell under a Level 2 of 5 slight risk area, while Boston, Atlanta, and Montgomery, Alabama, were under a Level 1 marginal risk. Damaging winds, hail, and possible tornadoes were the main threats through Monday evening.
Severe thunderstorm watches were issued from western New York southward to North Carolina for Monday afternoon into the evening hours.
The storm system on Sunday resulted in nearly 400 storm reports across a dozen states, including four reported tornadoes, 280 wind reports, and over 100 hail events.
As the storm system traversed the US, thousands of flights were delayed or canceled on Monday, as per FlightAware.com.
The Heat Wave’s Grip and the Storm’s Aftermath
The storms arrived as nearly 40 million people from Arizona to Alabama were sweltering under a heat wave, which is expected to spread and possibly continue through the beginning of the July 4 holiday week.
The widespread heat from Arizona through Texas will affect areas in different ways, “with higher air temperatures in the deserts and west Texas and lower air temperatures but higher humidity and heat indices in east Texas, both contributing to a significant risk of heat-related illnesses, especially as the longevity of the heat wave increases,” the Weather Prediction Center said.
In Bargersville, a severe storm cut a path of destruction roughly three miles long, Bargersville Fire Chief Eric Funkhouser said.
At least 75 homes were left with moderate to severe damage “from the tornado being on the ground,” Funkhouser said, adding the storm “took down the apartment complex that was under construction.”
No serious injuries were reported in Bargersville as of Sunday evening, according to the fire chief.
“This is the second tornado to hit Johnson County in the last three months,” Funkhouser said.