(Bloomberg) -- A powerful spring storm system that whipped up deadly tornadoes over the southern and Midwestern US is expected to bring severe thunderstorms and wind gusts to parts of the East Coast late Saturday, including to New York City.
The storm is moving east after unleashing hail, heavy wind and tornadoes from Mississippi to Wisconsin, leaving at least 18 people dead, the Associated Press reported.
It could bring “an isolated brief tornado,” likely west of New York City and the Hudson River, the National Weather Service said. The “greatest uncertainty remains with the eastward extent of the threat of severe storms,” the NWS said. Wind gusts could reach 58 miles per hour (93 kph) along the Mid-Atlantic region, according to the service.
Drenching rains are forecast for the New York City region late Saturday into Sunday, though city officials say flooding isn’t expected.
“This is not an April Fools’ joke!” New York City Emergency Management said on its Notify NYC website.
About 700 flights into and around the US were canceled Saturday morning and some 4,800 were delayed, according to FlightAware. Many of the scrubbed flights involved Chicago and Atlanta, two travel hubs.
Southern Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina may also be in line for severe weather, the NWS said. These powerful thunderstorms can bring tornadoes, hail and straight-line winds, a destructive wind sometimes mistaken for a tornado.
The storm knocked out power to nearly 600,000 people across 11 states late Friday, according to Poweroutage.us, including some 237,000 in Ohio who were still waiting to be reconnected on Saturday.
Reports of damage are extensive, with cars tossed off roads, homes ripped from foundations and buildings badly damaged across Tennessee, Arkansas and Indiana. In Illinois, a roof was ripped off the Apollo Theater in the city of Belvidere during a heavy-metal concert. At least one person at the show was killed, Chicago’s ABC-7 reported.
Belvidere Police Chief Shane Woody described the scene as “chaos, absolute chaos,” the AP reported.
The mayor of Little Rock said 2,100 homes were damaged or destroyed by a tornado that tore through the Arkansas capital.
The storms struck just hours after President Joe Biden traveled to Rolling Fork, Mississippi, to meet with residents affected by deadly tornadoes that killed more than two dozen people last week.
Biden on Saturday spoke with Arkansas Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders and other local officials, a White House spokesperson said.
(Updates with storm headed to the East Coast, new death toll and outage numbers.)
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