US weather: At least five die in severe spring storms across northeast of the country

Emily Shugerman

At least five people have died as a result of extreme weather conditions across the northeast US.

The East Coast was pummelled with severe thunderstorms, flash floods, and even a few tornadoes in a series of strong spring storms on Tuesday. At least five people were struck and killed by falling trees, as winds reached up to 80mph (129kph).

An 11-year-old was girl killed in Newburgh, New York after she was struck by a falling tree that also injured her mother, according to ABC News. Another woman in the same small town killed by a falling tree while operating a vehicle.

The city of Newburgh announced it had closed all roads on Tuesday night due to “damage to trees and electrical infrastructure”.

Three other people were killed by falling trees on Tuesday night in Connecticut and the Poconos Mountains. Another was injured in Danbury, Connecticut after being struck by the roof of a dugout on his high school baseball field. The strong winds pulled the roof off of the structure, striking the teen, according to the Hartford Courant.

An estimated 496,777 customers in Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey and Connecticut lost electricity during the storms on Tuesday night, according to tracking service That number was closer to 350,000 by Wednesday morning.

The extreme weather also forced a temporary shutdown of several Amtrak trains in the region. The Metro North – one of the busiest rail lines in the country – also suspended service, leaving thousands of customers stranded in New York’s Grand Central station. The NYPD even closed the terminal briefly because of the crowds, according to a local CBS affiliate.

“It couldn’t have happened at a worse time at the very beginning of rush hour,” Metropolitan Transportation Authority chairman Joseph Lhota told the outlet.

The three major airports serving New York also experienced flight delays of at least an hour.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo declared a state of emergency in four counties on Tuesday night, as they recovered from what he called “severe thunderstorms”. Members of the New York National Guard were deployed to help with recovery efforts.

Residents reported seeing golf ball- to baseball-size hail across southeastern parts of the state. Social media users in New York City posted photos of a rare double rainbow that appeared over parts of the city as the storms subsided.

The National Weather Service predicted more rain in the Northeast on Wednesday, with the possibility of flash floods and strong thunderstorms.