THE US Weather Service warned of life-threatening 75mph gales as a massive storm system surged across the Northeast on Wednesday evening.
Strong winds, heavy rain and flash flooding are forecast to continue into Thursday, and meteorologists say more than 50 million people could be affected.
A Weather Service warning told Washington DC locals that their lives are “at significant risk if outdoors.”
More than 100,000 people are currently without power along the Northeast and in Florida, according to poweroutage.us.
Nearly 40,000 are without power in Virginia alone.
In parts of New York City, a flash flood warning is in effect until 9pm.
Severe thunderstorms are bearing down on the East Coast[/caption]
“A very humid air mass spreading out across the East on Wednesday is going to be a key ingredient which will cause some heavy thunderstorms to break out, especially in the central Appalachians and the mid-Atlantic region,” AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Carl Babinski said.
Storms drenched New York City on Wednesday night[/caption]
Flash flooding and strong winds are expected to continue through Thursday[/caption]
“There will be several locations near the I-95 corridor that will get some much-needed relief from intense heat and humidity, but it will come at a price.
“Thunderstorms will be capable of producing damaging wind gusts, as well as a downpour that could cause flash flooding.”
The wild weather hit New York City and Philadelphia on Wednesday evening, and is expected to lose some strength as it moves eastward through New England.
More than 100,000 people are currently without power[/caption]
Pittsburgh and Bradford, Pennsylvania, and Charleston, West Virginia, were expected to be hit the hardest.
At least 56 million face a slight risk of severe weather, while another 35 million face a marginal risk, the National Weather Service Storm Prediction Center said.
A cold front is predicted to bring more severe weather along the I-95 corridor on Thursday.
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Predictions of thunderstorms and heavy rain came as much of the US struggles through a dangerous heat wave.
An estimated 280 million people were expected to experience temperatures at or above 90F (32C) in northern states like New York and Illinois.
About 75 million Americans on the East Coast have experienced desert temperatures in the triple digits.
Phoenix, AZ, hit 112F (44C) on Saturday, the highest in the US.