Storms leave 5 dead, 200K without power in East

Debris is visible at Goff Road in Smithfield, N.Y., following severe storm on Tuesday, July 8, 2014. Officials in central New York say four people are dead and four homes have been destroyed in building collapses amid severe thunderstorms. (AP Photo/Oneida Daily Dispatch, John Haeger)
Debris is visible at Goff Road in Smithfield, N.Y., following severe storm on Tuesday, July 8, 2014. Officials in central New York say four people are dead and four homes have been destroyed in building collapses amid severe thunderstorms. (AP Photo/Oneida Daily Dispatch, John Haeger)

SMITHFIELD, N.Y. (AP) — Severe thunderstorms packing strong winds swept through a number of Eastern states, killing five people, destroying or damaging numerous houses and leaving nearly 200,000 without power Wednesday, officials said.

In central New York, four people died after the storms hit the rural town of Smithfield, between Syracuse and Utica, the Madison County Sheriff’s Office said. At least four homes were completely destroyed and numerous others were damaged. Nearly 56,000 utility customers in central and northern New York were still without power early Wednesday.

Injuries and damage from Tuesday’s fast-moving storms were not limited to New York state. In Maryland, a child at a summer camp was killed by a falling tree. Three small tornadoes touched down in Ohio and at least one other was sighted in Pennsylvania, where more than 300,000 lost power at the peak of the storms.

Madison County Sheriff Allen Riley did not identify the victims. He told The Post-Standard of Syracuse he was still notifying their families.

The storm destroyed four homes, ripping one from its foundation and tossing it onto another house, the newspaper reported. Three other houses nearby also were damaged. The National Weather Service said the winds were likely stronger than 60 mph.

Riley said in a television interview late Tuesday that search dogs were being used to go over the rubble at the Smithfield site and that neighbors were being interviewed.

“We’re just picking up parts of the house to see if anybody is underneath them,” he said.

National Weather Service meteorologist Joanne LaBounty said investigators will be in the area to determine if a tornado touched down.

The spokesman for the emergency management office said there was widespread damage in the towns of Sullivan and Lenox, between Syracuse and Utica.

In Maryland, a tree fell at a summer camp during a strong thunderstorm, killing one child and injuring six others. The children at the River Valley Ranch camp in Manchester were headed to a shelter when a tree fell on them.

Also, severe thunderstorms spawned at least one tornado in Mercer county in northwestern Pennsylvania. Early Wednesday, more than 123,000 across the state remained without power, including 66,000 in Philadelphia and its suburbs. The NWS said possible tornadoes were also reported in Perry, Bedford and Sullivan counties in central Pennsylvania.

The National Weather Service said three small tornadoes touched down in northeastern Ohio, causing minor damage, as strong storms moved across the state.

In New Jersey, nearly 15,000 homes and businesses remained without power Wednesday.

 

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