Nor’easter batters Northeast with winds, flooding
(CNN) — A nor’easter whipped the Northeast on Tuesday morning with heavy winds and rain, causing street flooding in coastal areas and slowing morning commutes throughout the region.
The storm was created by the weather system that spawned deadly tornadoes in the Southeast over the weekend and then moved north. One death has been reported in the Northeast — a 60-year-old man died after being struck by a car lot sign that was knocked down by wind Monday, Philadelphia police said.
Gusts of nearly 50 mph were reported Tuesday morning in Central Park in New York City and 60 mph gusts were recorded in the Hamptons, CNN meteorologist Dave Hennen said.
The weather caused the cancellation of flights out of LaGuardia, Newark and JFK airports on Monday and air travel delays are expected Tuesday.
“A little rain you can deal with, but the wind is crazy,” Josh Huber, who lives in Point Pleasant, New Jersey, told CNN affiliate WCBS. “It’s hollering at my house.”
CNN affiliate WABC reported street flooding on Tuesday morning in Seabright, New Jersey, and Freeport and other towns on the south shore of Long Island. About 1,000 people lost power on Long Island, WABC reported.
The National Weather Service had issued a coastal flood warning for southwest Suffolk County, New York, east of Manhattan, through Tuesday morning.
Some snow expected
The low pressure system was centered off the Jersey coast on Tuesday morning and might produce snow in some cities in the Northeast, Hennen said. Snow was already falling in the interior sections of New England, upstate New York, Vermont and New Hampshire, he said. Six inches of snow is expected in Maine.
The National Weather Service said the bad weather should clear up Wednesday for New York and New Jersey.
That will make things easier for cleanup crews moving downed trees, debris and part of a roof blown off a condo building in Long Branch, New Jersey.
“We heard a huge bang in our parking lot,” Rose Carich, a condo resident, told WCBS. “I ran outside to move my car but my back windshield was already smashed in.”
The storm rolled in Monday night, causing a commuting nightmare throughout the region.
CNN affiliate WABC reported a near total service shutdown at Penn Station after wires fell on the tracks in Linden. New Jersey Transit and Amtrak stopped service for about two hours, WABC said.
The weather caused flight delays at airports from Washington to New York and flooding at the New Jersey Transit Hoboken train station, which also flooded during Superstorm Sandy.
Midwest, Plains brace for snow
Meanwhile, a storm system is moving from the Rocky Mountains and bringing snow and rain across the Great Plains and Upper Midwest and Great Lakes regions, the National Weather Service said.
Winter storm warnings extend from Idaho to Wisconsin and where 6 or more inches of snow is expected to fall, Hennen said.
The heaviest snow is expected just north of Omaha, Nebraska, and just south of Minneapolis, he said.
The weather service predicted 1 to 3 inches of snow in Minneapolis Tuesday night. Chicago might get less than a tenth of an inch of snow Tuesday night and possibly half an inch by Wednesday night, the weather service said.
Omaha might get 1-2 inches of snow and sleet Tuesday night.
Southeast digs out
The Southeast is picking up the pieces after dozens of tornadoes tore through the region over the weekend, killing 20 people — 15 in Georgia, four in Mississippi and one in Florida.
The latest death was reported from Lake City, Florida, where a woman died when a tree fell on her home Sunday, Columbia County EMA Director Shayne Morgan told CNN.
The tornadoes killed more people in one weekend than in all of last year, when 17 died across the country.
Overall, four weather-related deaths were also reported in California and one person died in Pennsylvania, increasing the nationwide total to 25 since the weekend.
Fifty tornadoes struck between Louisiana through south Florida, starting Thursday through Sunday, according to the National Weather Service estimates. The majority of them struck south Georgia.
The barreling twisters left people stunned and communities devastated.
“All you hear is people screaming, ‘Help me, help me,'” said AJ Miley, a resident of the Sunshine Mobile Home Park in Georgia, according to CNN affiliate WSB-TV.
Devocheo Williams, also at the trailer park, said he saw people “tossed through the air,” the TV station reported.
“All I saw was a little girl flown up and thrown in a ditch. Three seconds later, the trailer got picked up off the ground and landed on top of the mother and son,” Williams said.
At least six people were believed to be missing in Georgia, including a 2-year-old boy who was caught in the tornado in Dougherty County, officials said.
Chris Cohilas, the chairman of the Dougherty County Commission in southwestern Georgia, urged the Federal Emergency Management Agency to get “boots on the ground” to help the community. So far, he said, FEMA has not been responsive.
“To get caught up in the bureaucratic red tape at a time of this amount of human suffering is disgraceful,” he said at a news conference on Monday.
In an email Monday, FEMA said the agency “is doing initial assessments of damages in Georgia today, including a flyover.” FEMA will start federal and state preliminary damage assessments for individual and public assistance this week, the agency said.
FEMA representatives were also recently deployed to emergency centers in Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia and Florida to support the response, officials said.
The Georgia House of Representatives voted Tuesday to put $5 million into the governor’s emergency fund to help south Georgia storm victims, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.
California governor declares state of emergency
In California, where a winter weather system has unleashed torrential rain and strong winds, Gov. Jerry Brown late Monday declared a state of emergency across 50 counties, including the cities of Los Angeles, San Diego, Sacramento and San Francisco. The move allows local officials to seek recovery money to repair damage from flash flooding, erosion, mudslides and debris flows.
Early estimates indicate losses in the tens of millions of dollars, according to the declaration.
Four deaths have been reported in California since the weekend: Two in San Diego County, one in Mendocino County and one in Los Angeles County. Two more people were missing off the coast of Pebble Beach, but the search was stopped because of deteriorating weather conditions, the US Coast Guard said Monday.
But more rain is expected in northern parts of California through Tuesday evening. Strong winds are expected to remain through Tuesday night where waves along the southern California coastline could reach six to nine feet before it starts drying out midweek.
CNN’s Michael Guy, Darran Simon, Carma Hassan, Monica Garrett, Khushbu Shah, Ellie Kaufman, Chris Boyette, Joe Sterling, Joe Sutton and Melanie Whitley contributed to this report.