Severe storm system ripples across nation

Leaves damaged homes, extensive power outages

- Anthony Robledo and Christophe­r Cann Contributi­ng: Doyle Rice, Thao Nguyen and Cybele Mayes-Osterman, USA TODAY; Ryan Reynolds and Jon Webb, Evansville Courier and Press

A major storm system continued to slam the central and eastern United States on Tuesday as it moved across the country, destroying homes, toppling trees and causing widespread power outages.

More than 300,000 utility customers across West Virginia, Kentucky, Ohio and other states were without power as of Tuesday afternoon as winds as high as 92 mph battered the region, according to a database maintained by USA TODAY.

The system has had coast-to-coast impacts since the weekend, when damaging hail fell across the Midwest and heavy rain in Southern California led to the partial collapse of a major highway. The storm has picked up force as it has headed east.

It followed a dangerous day in parts of the country. At least three tornadoes were reported in Oklahoma on Monday evening, according to AccuWeathe­r, and a possible tornado damaged roofs and toppled trees and power lines, Osage County Sheriff Eddie Virden told television station KOTV-DT. Photos of an area north of Tulsa showed several flattened homes.

Hail as large as grapefruit­s fell in parts of central Texas on Monday, with wind gusts near 90 mph, AccuWeathe­r said. More than 30 vehicles were involved and multiple people hurt in a pileup in the west-central part of the state Monday amid storm conditions, reported West News 9, citing the Texas Department of Public Safety.

The National Weather Service warned of flash floods, long-track tornadoes and baseball-sized hail Tuesday in areas totaling about 50 million people. A squall line stretching across southern Indiana and a large portion of Kentucky threatened possible tornadoes, the weather service in Louisville said. At least 4 to 8 inches of snow were forecast across northern Illinois, much of Wisconsin and Michigan.

‘We were spared’

Shortly after she woke up early Tuesday, Eileen Helmen of Evansville, Indiana, heard a siren in the distance. The radio on her nightstand issued a tornado warning, which prompted her to huddle for about half an hour in her guest bedroom.

As the rain began to subside around 7:30 a.m., Helmen, 70, drove to Christian Fellowship Church, where she works as a receptioni­st. On the drive, she saw tree limbs, outdoor furniture and other debris strewn across roads. Several street lights were out, including at busy intersecti­ons.

“We were spared,” Helmen said of the church and her neighborho­od. “But there were places that got hit bad.”

The city of Evansville said in a post on X, formerly Twitter, that there was “significan­t storm damage” and urged residents to “please be careful if you have to go out!” There were no immediate reports of injuries in the county, Sheriff Noah Robinson told the Courier & Press, part of the USA TODAY Network, but deputies were still canvassing damaged neighborho­ods.

Thundersto­rms to hit East Coast

As the week continues, the large storm system will bring showers and severe thundersto­rms across the mid-Atlantic and parts of the Southeast, meteorolog­ists said.

The National Weather Service warned of frequent lightning, strong wind gusts, hail and “a few tornadoes” from Wednesday to Thursday morning.

The storm will unleash snow throughout the Northeast Wednesday through Friday, the weather service said. With gusty winds, low visibility and slippery roads, there’s a high likelihood that the storm will disrupt travel. The heavy snow and powerful wind may also damage trees and impact infrastruc­ture, the weather service said.

 ?? MACABE BROWN/USA TODAY NETWORK ?? Lois Schmitt picks up a piece of fence in her yard after a strong storm came through and caused damage in the Evansville, Ind., area on Tuesday morning.
MACABE BROWN/USA TODAY NETWORK Lois Schmitt picks up a piece of fence in her yard after a strong storm came through and caused damage in the Evansville, Ind., area on Tuesday morning.

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