Fatalities expected from rare twister, as storm’s winds in Virginia could be equivalent to a category 5 hurricane
Forecasters say that areas from the Carolinas through parts of the Mid-Atlantic could face a range of dangerous weather conditions as the end of the week approaches.
The storm system has left death and destruction in its wake in South Carolina. The storms killed at least nine people in the state and a woman was killed in Georgia.
The National Weather Service has warned that tornadoes could be possible throughout the Carolinas, Virginia, Maryland and Delaware, while the NWS in Wilmington, North Carolina, said the weather system, which had moved northward, could bring damaging winds and coastal flooding from Friday through Saturday.
A tornado touchdown was reported early on Friday morning in the southwestern part of the state near Reidsville. The Washington Post reported that roadways in the area were clogged with downed trees and power lines.
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Parts of North Carolina and Virginia were under tornado watches and warnings, and the wind damage could lead to widespread power outages.
“We are still on high alert,” said George Hopkinson, director of emergency management in Howard County, Maryland. “It looks like the line of severe weather has been rapidly shifting south. We are keeping a very close eye on the conditions.”
Tornado watches were in effect for central and southern Virginia, while the NWS warned of flash flooding. It said rains could be up to 4 inches (10cm) an hour in some areas.
Maryland emergency management spokesman Greg Shipley said the forecast presented a potential for severe weather, “but we don’t want folks to be overly concerned.”
The storm system is also forecast to bring strong winds to New England.
Parts of New York City could see strong gusts and potentially falling leaves that could delay cleanup from last week’s heatwave.