A possible derecho moved through the Northeast Tuesday afternoon. Thunderstorms began to develop midday across western Pennsylvania and New York. That line expanded and intensified while traveling eastward at over 60 mph toward the I-95 corridor, reaching that area just in time for the evening commute. The peak wind gust from the line was measured at 81 mph.
2-6pm loop May 15, 2018.. Lots of warnings and damage reports along this line. Temps dropped from 80s/90s to 60s. Possible Tornado touchdowns in Brookfield CT and Liberty, NY pic.twitter.com/vj2Dy26qHR
— Ralphs Weather OBS (@WeatherNut27) May 15, 2018
At the peak of the storms, strong winds were responsible for knocking out power to over 620,000 customers, including over 200,000 in New York and 160,000 in Pennsylvania alone.
There were also six deaths reported from the storms as a tree was knocked down onto a car in Merwinsburg, PA, Danbury, CT, and New Fairfield, CT. An 11-year-old girl was also killed after a tree fell on the car she was in in Newburgh, NY. A similar death happened to a different person in Newburgh as well. Wednesday evening, a sixth death was reported of an 80-year-old New York woman driving in Rockland County ending up crushed by a falling tree.
In Pennsylvannia, high winds were powerful enough to knock down this tractor-trailer on a highway between Danville and Riverside. In State College, winds measured 68 mph at the peak of the thunderstorm. Hail was measured up to 2.75 inches in diameter, which broke a window, in Susquehanna, PA.
Tree damage reports were widespread in portions of Pennsylvania. Large branches from a tree destroyed this building in Honesdale. Thankfully, the woman who captured this photo and her family are all safe.
The most concentrated damage reports were found in the Lower-Hudson River Valley of New York and into Connecticut. Several supercell thunderstorms formed in the afternoon ahead of the main line of severe thunderstorms. These storms produced at least one tornado. A trained spotter reported that tornado in Yulan, NY.
The below wild video comes from Saugerties, NY, showing the very strong winds paired with heavy rain from a tornado-warned storm.
Incredible video from earlier today in a tornado-warned storm in Saugerties, NY.
(Video credit: Breaking News/YouTube) pic.twitter.com/MdFArMjwE6
— WeatherOptics (@weatheroptics) May 15, 2018
There have also been reports of a couple potential tornadoes in Connecticut, but the National Weather Service offices in Albany, Boston, and New York City may have to head to the scene and investigate whether it was a tornado or straight-line winds that brought damage.
There was large hail in New York, especially from this supercell thunderstorm. Hail was recorded to be up to 2 inches in diameter, including in southern Colombia County where the below photo on the left was captured. About dime-sized hail was seen in Saugerties, NY, as shown in the photo to the right. There have also been reports of roofs blown off in New York State while numerous trees and scaffolding get ripped down tanks to the wind.
Farther east into Connecticut, damage was very numerous, especially from strong winds. There was hail that was also reported in parts of the state, as shown in the below video from Cannon.
Litchfield, CT measured hail with a diameter of 1.75 inches. Hail damage was seen in Granby, CT as it pummeled the town for just a few minutes. This back windshield of this car was damaged from the hail, totally destroying the glass.
Nearly tennis ball-sized hail was measured in Granby.
check out this #hail comparison shot from super viewer Leori Qualkenbush in #Granby cray cray! #severeweather #nbcct #firstalertct for great video and forecasting tune in to us live on @NBCConnecticut just had big thunder & lightning at our studios btw pic.twitter.com/RTa2t7PiWv
— Len Besthoff (@lennbc) May 15, 2018
That hailed caused damage to the sidings of some homes, like this one:
Hail damage to Julia’s house in Granby! pic.twitter.com/ICs7s7srkl
— Rachel Frank (@RachelFrank_CT) May 16, 2018
These thunderstorms rushed into the Hartford area a few minutes later, prompting a Tornado Warning for the city. Thankfully, no tornado was reported but the thunderstorm still produced these ominous clouds over the city. This photo of the scary clouds was captured at Bishops Corner in West Hartford.
Despite the fast forward-progress of these storms, they were heavy enough to cause minor flooding on some of the roadways, like in Norfolk, CT. According to the Norfolk Fire Department, “Several roads have minor flooding and we are getting numerous reports of tree and wires down around town. Thankfully no life threatening emergencies associated with the heavy rain, winds, and hail.”
Another component of these storms: frequent lightning. This wild shot of cloud-to-ground lightning was captured from an open field in Granby, CT.
A potential tornado moved through west-central Connecticut. There are reports of widespread destruction in towns like Newtown and Oxford. Survey crews will be flying over the area Wednesday morning to investigate the damage from above. The first below photo was taken from inside a damaged house in Southbury. The second following photos were taken in Ridgefield from the same possible tornado. Notice how the trees got totally ripped apart.
This was the scene after the possible tornado in Hamden. Parts of the town received significant damage, including near Sleeping Giant State Park where this video was taken. Notice how many of the trees were completely shredded.
Credit: Joe Daddse
Here are a few other photos worth featuring from Connecticut, one of the tree damage from a parking lot in Westport and the other of a large, dramatic shelf cloud seen over New Haven. We also added in a photo of the tree damage from a possible tornado in Oxford and one of a tree across a road in Danbury.
Farther south, New York City got slammed by the possible derecho. Winds rapidly picked up as skies darkened just before the 6 o’clock hour. The city dealt with a lot in the short time period the storm lasted. The photo on the left captures the dramatic clouds that roared into New York City. To the right is a photo from Grand Central Station. Metro-North Railroad suspended all of its service until further notice in the midst of the busy evening commute from the city. This caused commuter chaos in the terminal. According to Metro-North, numerous downed trees on their railroads prevented them from operating trains.
Lastly, we take you to New Jersey where some damage was reported. In Fanwood, this large tree was no match for the strong winds and moisture-saturated ground.