Thunderstorms, 70 MPH Winds Could Affect Up to 52 Million People in the Northeast Today

Illustration for article titled Thunderstorms, 70 MPH Winds Could Affect Up to 52 Million People in the Northeast Today
Photo: AP

Powerful storms are roaring into the Northeast on Wednesday afternoon, bringing with them the threat of lightning, flash floods, and winds up to 70 mph or more.


The National Weather Service (NWS) has issued severe thunderstorm warnings and watches from Boston to Washington, D.C., until 9 p.m. ET. Logan Airport in Boston has already recorded a powerful downburst of winds of up to 74 mph and storms will keep ripping across the region. Overall, more than 52 million people will face dangerous weather.

Hot, humid air has been camped out over the Northeast all week. Going outside has resulted in instantaneous armpit sweat, which—gross. But on Wednesday, a cold front began sliding toward the region to offer some relief. The catch, though, is that relief will come with a bit of turbulence as cold air clashes with the sticky icky heat gripping the region. The collision of these opposing air masses helped spin up storms up and down the Northeast Corridor by mid-afternoon, a number of which included embedded thunderstorms.

That led NWS to issue a widespread series of thunderstorm watches and warnings. Ditto for flash floods, with the agency calling for up to 4 inches of rain that “could fall in a short period of time which could lead to areas of flash flooding.” In addition, impacts from the storms could include quarter-sized hail, winds gusting to 70 mph, and frequent lightning to go along with a buttload of rain (that’s the technical term, I believe). The storms could rip off roofs and knock down trees.

“For your protection move to an interior room on the lowest floor of a building,” the agency said in its alert.

That’s not really an option for those of us at G/O Media’s lofty perch above Times Square, and I can report that by 3 p.m. local time, lightning had lit up the skies and heavy rain began falling. Other locations from the Jersey Shore to Boston have also reported numerous lightning strikes along with the aforementioned downburst at Logan Airport, and the threat for storms to keep rolling through the area will continue into the evening making for a soggy commute. Now, I won’t name names, but I will say two of my colleagues working at Earther did not bring umbrellas today. Reader, if you live in the Northeast, I hope you made better life choices.


Managing editor at Earther, writing about climate change, environmental justice, and, occasionally, my cat.