Tornado In Massachusetts As Severe Thunderstorms Move Across The Nation

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Severe thunderstorms across the Northeast on Sunday slowed operations at airports, wreaked havoc at outdoor sporting and musical events in New York and Philadelphia and sent people scurrying from a beach after three men were struck by lightning.

The men were injured at Orchard Beach on Pelham Bay in the Bronx on Sunday evening as bad storms rolled through the area, the Fire Department of New York said. The men were being treated at a hospital, and the extent of their injuries was unknown.

lightning strikes near New York City on Aug. 31, 2014 (Credit: CBS. Severe Storms Cause Chaos Across Tri-State. 2 Injured Near BX Lightning Strike,
lightning strikes near New York City on Aug. 31, 2014 (Credit: CBS. Severe Storms Cause Chaos Across Tri-State. 2 Injured Near BX Lightning Strike,

In Pennsylvania, authorities say a lightning strike killed a boy who was swimming in a central creek. Lancaster Newspapers reports that three boys were swimming in the Conowingo Creek in Fulton Township when a storm moved through Sunday afternoon. Lightning killed one and injured another. The third boy escaped unharmed.

Also, a tornado touched down in Worcester, Massachusetts, leaving a nearly two-mile long trail of damage, but no injuries, CBS Boston reports. The National Weather Service said the twister, which was on the ground for just about four minutes, was an EF0, the lowest on the tornado scale, with winds of 85 mph.

“We are phenomenally lucky the damage wasn’t worse,” Worcester city manager Edward Augustus, Jr. told WBZ-TV.

The risk of severe weather is also expected to continue through Monday, reports CBS Chicago meteorologist Megan Glaros, adding that the danger extends from Kansas to Oklahoma, all the way through Michigan and Ohio. The main danger there will be from hail and heavy winds.

While the East Coast is expected to be hot and muggy, the West Coast should experience dry and beautiful weather.

The nice weather is unlikely to help California’s lifeguards. Hot days and rough surf led to a record number of saves there this year. As of last week, Los Angeles County lifeguards rescued nearly 10,000 people, more than double the number in all of 2012 and 2013 combined. The lifeguards keep so busy, overtime has gone up in recent years, costing $1.5 million.

Torrential rain, thunder and lightning interrupted Labor Day weekend celebrations in Philadelphia, where a parkway hosting a music concert was evacuated for safety reasons. Organizers of the Made in America festival warned people to move quickly and calmly to the exits and to protected areas outside the downtown festival site until the bad weather passed.

Anne Beyens, of Scottsdale, Arizona, was among a group of five waterlogged friends who were told to leave the concert after watching deejay 3LAU and ended up at a bar a mile away. They said most of the headliners they wanted to see, including Pharrell Williams and Kings of Leon, were scheduled for later in the night so they were hoping to return.

Concert goers leave the Budweiser Made in America Festival after the grounds are evacuated due to thunderstorms on Sunday, Aug. 31, 2014, in Philadelphia.
Concert goers leave the Budweiser Made in America Festival after the grounds are evacuated due to thunderstorms on Sunday, Aug. 31, 2014, in Philadelphia.

“We knew it was going to rain,” Beyens said. “We didn’t know they were going to kick us out.”

Besides temporarily stopping the Made in America concert, the bad weather also forced the early end to the Electric Zoo musical festival on an island in New York’s East River and halted play for the first time at this year’s U.S. Open tennis tournament in Queens.

Former champion Maria Sharapova took notice of the screeching weather warnings on reporters’ cellphones as she answered questions about her loss to 10th-seeded Caroline Wozniacki just before the storm hit.

“Is that the flood warning? Darn it. If I was only there a little longer,” she said to laughter.

Electric Zoo spokesman Stefan Friedman said “the safety and security of all attendees, artists and staff” was the primary concern as people were told to leave. The decision was made about six hours before the festival was scheduled to end on Randall’s Island, where fans have to take ferries and shuttle buses.

The National Weather Service said it had reports of wind damage and flash flooding in East Orange, New Jersey, and reports of large tree branches down on Long Island. It said most of the damage was reported between 4:20 p.m. and 5:15 p.m., when the storms were intense.

More than 30 flights in and out of the New York metro area were delayed and at least one was cancelled because of the severe weather, according to the flight tracking website FlightAware. Storms also disrupted air travel in Philadelphia and the Baltimore-Washington region.

Flights leaving Newark Liberty in New Jersey and Washington Dulles in Virginia were held up nearly three hours, the Federal Aviation Administration said. Flights in and out of New York’s Kennedy Airport and Philadelphia International Airport were delayed up to two hours.

In the Midwest, storms began sweeping across Iowa and Nebraska late Sunday with heavy rains causing some flooding and wind gusts affecting power lines and snapping tree limbs.

The National Weather Service said Sergeant Bluff, Iowa, and Dakota City, Nebraska, saw straight-line winds of 80 mph to 90 mph that caused significant damage.

The Omaha World-Herald reported that in the Omaha metro area, at least eight people were rescued Sunday evening on the Elkhorn River.

Cleveland’s game at Kansas City was suspended due to rain with the Indians leading the Royals 4-2 heading into the bottom of the 10th inning. The game will resume on Sept. 22 in Cleveland.

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