A severe weather system is pummeling the East Coast on Monday, with at least 24 people dead in the South. The storm is moving up the coast this afternoon, making its way across the Mid-Atlantic and into the Northeast.
At least 25 million people on the East Coast are under a tornado watch until 1800ET, CNN meteorologist Dave Hennen said.
Hennen said severe weather could be seen in northern Virginia, Washington, D.C., Maryland, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York.
“A few thousand feet off the ground, the winds will be hurricane force,” Andrew Orrison, a meteorologist at the U.S. Weather Prediction Center in College Park, Maryland, told Bloomberg. “We are going to have some concern for power outages and downed trees. With so many people working remotely, that is going to be a concern.
According to website PowerOutage.US, hundreds of thousands of people are without power around 1400ET, with the bulk of the outages in the Carolinas.
Power outages during a lockdown could be problematic for hundreds of thousands of people on the East Coast, who are now working from home because of the pandemic. Many of these folks don’t have backup generation sources, unlike corporate offices.
The same storm killed 24 people and damaged homes and businesses in several southern states.
“In Mississippi, at least 11 people were killed, the state’s Department of Emergency Management said.
In South Carolina, six people in Hampton County were killed Monday morning, the county’s emergency management office said.
In Georgia, six people were killed — including five people in Murray County and one man in Cartersville, local officials said.
At least one house in Upson County, Georgia, was picked up and moved by the storm, CNN affiliate WSB reported Monday.
And in Arkansas, one person was killed after a tree fell on a home in Jefferson County, county emergency management director Karen Blevins said. From Texas to South Carolina, reports of at least 40 tornadoes spanned more than 1,200 miles, the National Weather Service said Monday,” reported CNN.
As for New York City, where emergency first responders are already stretched thin because of the virus outbreak, severe storms and high winds could put further stress on the local government.
Mayor Bill de Blasio told residents on Sunday to remain indoors as severe weather passes through on Monday.
“We have strong winds and heavy rain coming our way on Monday, New York City, so it’s really simple: if you do not need to be outside tomorrow then STAY HOME,” de Blasio tweeted.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo said emergency agencies are preparing for widespread power outages through Monday evening.
Severe weather and a virus pandemic on the East Coast could certainly leave many municipalities overly stressed as they face several emergencies.