Powerful storms kill 5, bring havoc to Northeast

Northeast storms

Credit: Allison Shelley/Getty Images

Pepco employees stabilize power lines in Maryland after an earlier storm.



USA Today

Posted on July 9, 2014 at 8:49 AM

SMITHFIELD, New York -- Powerful, fast-moving storms roared through much of the Northeast on Tuesday night, killing at least five people and leaving hundreds of thousands without power.

Drenching rains and winds that reached 60 mph tore down trees and power lines, destroyed homes and even ripped a roof off a central New York restaurant.

In rural Smithfield, N.Y., four people died when high winds turned at least four homes into rubble. Many more were damaged, Undersheriff John Ball said.

"Our thoughts are with the families," the National Weather Service announced through its Binghamton, N.Y., office. "We will have multiple survey teams across central New York and NEPA (northeastern Pennsylvania) ... to determine the cause of damage."

A mother and daughter were among three who died in Smithfield, family members have told WTVH television in Syracuse.

More than 70,000 people remained without power in the state early Wednesday.

In Maryland, a tree fell at a summer camp during a strong thunderstorm, killing one child and injuring six others. The children at the River Valley Ranch camp in Manchester were headed to a shelter when a tree fell on them, authorities said.

In Pennsylvania, more than 300,000 people lost power at the height of the storms. More than 135,000 homes and businesses remained without power Wednesday morning, including more than 74,000 in the five-county Philadelphia area.

In Vermont, Green Mountain Power reported more that 13,000 power customers lost power, though most power had been restored Wednesday morning.

But New York state drew the brunt of the weather system's fury. Winds were so strong that they partially peeled the roof off of a bar and grill at the New York State Fairgrounds in East Syracuse, The Post Standard in Syracuse reported. The restaurant is a popular during fairgrounds events, and staffers there are hoping they can repair it in time for a classic car show that starts next Friday, New York State Fairgrounds spokesman Dave Bullard told the Post-Standard.