Residents in the north-east of the United State have begun clean-up operations after powerful storms pounded the region with torrential rain and marble-sized hail, leaving at least three people dead and more than 200,000 homes and businesses without power.
Connecticut officials said two people in New Fairfield and Danbury were killed in separate accidents when trees fell on their trucks, including a woman whose three-year-old child escaped injury. An 11-year-old New York girl was killed when a large tree toppled onto the car she was in.
More than 148,000 utility customers in New York were without power early on Wednesday. In Connecticut, the state’s two major utilities reported 90,000 without electricity, most in the western part of the state. An official said it could take days to return the power.
The storms downed trees and power lines across the region. Several lightning strikes led to structure fires in New Jersey and Massachusetts. New York’s Central Hudson Gas and Electric reported 78mph wind gusts on Tuesday and about 1,000 lighting strikes per hour.
Roads in many towns were impassible and some schools cancelled classes due to the damage.
Airlines also cancelled and delayed flights in and out of the region.
In New York City on Tuesday evening, thousands of commuters were stranded in Grand Central Terminal after rail lines were temporarily suspended due to downed trees on the tracks. Concourses were packed with passengers waiting for service to resume.
New York, Governor Andrew Cuomo declared a state of emergency in Putnam, Dutchess, Orange and Sullivan counties. He deployed members of the New York National Guard to assist with recovery operations.