Bloomberg News

Thunderstorms, High Winds Sweep Northeast

July 18, 2012

Thunderstorms with winds as strong as 60 miles (97 kilometers) per hour across the U.S. Northeast have tied up air traffic from Boston to Washington and caused hundreds of flights to be canceled.

Pounding rain and gusting winds have knocked down trees, wires and damaged buildings from Kentucky to Connecticut, according to the U.S. Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Oklahoma. Tornadoes were reported near Binghamton, New York, and in Lynn, Massachusetts, just north of Boston.

“These are dangerous storms,” the National Weather Service said in a warning issued for northern New Jersey. The service said people in the path should be ready for “damaging winds, destructive hail and deadly cloud-to-ground lightning.”

Last year, lightning damage caused $952.4 million in insured losses across the U.S. and killed 26 people, according to the Insurance Information Institute in New York. From 2004 to 2008, lightning caused 24,600 fires a year.

On June 29, severe thunderstorms touched off a windstorm known as a derecho that knocked out power from North Carolina to New Jersey.

Air traffic at New York’s La Guardia and John F. Kennedy airports has been delayed by more than two hours, according to the Federal Aviation Administration.

At least 634 flights in the U.S. were canceled today, according to FlightAware, a Houston-based tracking service. LaGuardia had 91 flights scrubbed, the most in the U.S., followed by 58 in Philadelphia.

Traffic Delays

Traffic to Newark and Boston has been delayed by more than 90 minutes, according to the FAA’s website. Aircraft are also being held up at airports in Detroit, Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington.

The heavy rains from the storms have also prompted flash- flood warnings in many places from Virginia to Massachusetts. Storms in eastern Massachusetts were dropping rain at 1.5 inches (3.8 centimeters) an hour.

“Residents living along streams and creeks should take immediate precautions to protect life and property,” the weather service said in a warning in Massachusetts. “Do not attempt to cross swiftly flowing waters or water of unknown depth by foot or by automobile.”

The storms should pass by 9 p.m. in most areas, the service said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Brian K. Sullivan in Boston at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Dan Stets at

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