Deadly US storms cause 'meteotsunami' as severe weather leaves thousands without power and falling trees kill four

Sean Morrison
Storm clouds gather over New York city seen from the Hudson River: AP

Powerful storms across America’s northeast have claimed at least four lives and caused a weather phenomenon known as a meteotsunami.

An 11-year-old girl and a woman died after being crushed by falling trees in New York state while in their vehicles.

Two people in Connecticut were also killed in separate in accidents when trees fell on their trucks on Tuesday.

Meteorologists said the meteotsunami resulted in water levels fluctuating several hours off the New Jersey coast.

Crews work to clear a road cover in debris following a storm in Newburgh, New York (AP)

More than 157,000 people in New York were without power at midday on Wednesday.

It came as the National Guard was called to help victims the powerful storm which pounded the north-east of the country.

Torrential rain and marble-sized hail swept across some areas, with hundreds of thousands of homes and businesses left without power.

In Connecticut, the state's two major utilities reported 90,000 without electricity. Officials said it could take days to get the power back on.

Several lightning strikes led to structure fires in New Jersey and Massachusetts.

New York's Central Hudson Gas & Electric Corporation reported 78 mph wind gusts on Tuesday and about 1,000 lighting strikes per hour.