Storms in U.S. Northeast knock out power, ground flights
(Reuters) - Severe thunderstorms unleashed heavy rain and strong winds across parts of the Midwest and Northeast on Thursday, grounding hundreds of flights and leaving tens of thousands of people without power.
The storms spawned a tornado that touched down in Elmira, New York, damaging a mall and a local country club, the National Weather Service said.
There were no immediate reports of injuries. Forecasters warned of potentially destructive winds gusts in some areas of up to 70 miles per hour.
As the storms sent black, menacing clouds rolling across some cities, hail ranging from the size of a dime to a quarter fell in parts of Pennsylvania, said AccuWeather.com.
More than 51,000 customers were without power in Ohio, said American Electric Power of Ohio. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said in a statement that the storms knocked out power for nearly 93,700 utility customers across the state.
The storms formed along a cold front stretching from the Northeast into the Ohio Valley and threatened damaging winds, hail and tornadoes, according to the Weather Channel.
There were over 900 flight cancellations on Thursday, according to FlightAware, a Texas-based company that tracks flights. The highest number of cancellations was at LaGuardia Airport in New York.
Flight delays were also reported at airports in Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, New York City, Philadelphia and Washington D.C., the Federal Aviation Administration said on its website.
A severe thunderstorm watch was issued for portions of Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia.
The National Weather Service's Storm Prediction Center warned that "hail (up) to 2 inches in diameter, thunderstorm wind gusts to 80 miles per hour and dangerous lightning are possible in these areas."
Thunderstorms that swept through Westchester County, north of New York City, toppled trees and caused power outages.
Trees fell across the tracks of the Metro North commuter rail system's Harlem Line and brought train traffic to a halt on the line north of Chappaqua, the town that is home to former U.S. President Bill Clinton and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
(Reporting by Kevin Gray, Dan Burns and Alex Dobuzinskis; Editing by Stacey Joyce and Anthony Boadle)
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