(Adds flood warnings in Vermont)
By Zach Howard
CONWAY, Mass. Jan 31 Rain and high winds lashed
U.S. Northeast and mid-Atlantic states early on Thursday,
knocking out power to more than 330,000 homes and businesses as
they braced for a coming snowstorm.
Gusty winds of up to 77 miles per hour battered parts of New
England and a high-wind advisory remains in effect until 6 p.m.
for northern Connecticut, most of Massachusetts, and southern
New Hampshire, the National Weather Service said.
Thunderstorms rolled across the Northeast early on Thursday
morning, toppling trees and downing utility lines. Among the
hardest hit areas were Connecticut, where about 71,000 customers
had no electricity; Long Island, with about 34,000 customers
out; and New Jersey, where about 27,000 customers were without
power, according to utility reports.
Heavy rainfall caused several dams in Carroll County,
Virginia, to overflow after "river flow increased a multiple of
10 times in just 12 hours," said a statement released by
The state of Vermont warned residents on Thursday to brace
for flash flooding from the storm, with heavy rains causing ice
jams in rivers. Residents of low-lying areas were advised to
seek higher ground immediately if water began to rise on local
Raging winds tore the roof off of an elementary school in
Fall River, Massachusetts, sending bricks and other debris
crashing to the street below, local media reported. A large
section of the roof of another elementary school, this one in
Raynham, south of Boston, also was blown off, with some debris
landing across the street. No one was reported injured.
Early morning bursts of wind and rain also caused traffic
accidents. In Centerville, Massachusetts, on Cape Cod, a teenage
girl crossing the street to board a school bus was seriously
injured after being hit by a car in what police called a
weather-related crash, local media said. In Boston, a toppled
tree fell on an ambulance on its way to pick up a patient. No
injuries were reported.
From Friday through the weekend, a series of storms
threatens to dump snow from the Midwest to New England and the
mid-Atlantic, according to meteorologist Alex Sosnowski on
Accuweather.com. Slick conditions could snarl the Friday morning
commute to Washington, D.C., and Baltimore, he said.
(Additional reporting by Scott DiSavino; Writing by Barbara
Goldberg; Editing by Nick Zieminski and Bob Burgdorfer)