Strong winds could cause power outages on U.S. East Coast

FILE PHOTO: An electrical substation is seen after winter weather caused electricity blackouts in Houston, Texas, U.S. February 20, 2021. REUTERS/Go Nakamura/File Photo

(Reuters) - Damaging winds are expected to thrash the U.S. Mid-Atlantic and New England on Monday and into Tuesday, potentially blowing down trees and electrical lines and causing widespread power outages, forecasters said.

Some 70 million people living in the region stretching from Maryland into New York and Pennsylvania and north through Maine were under wind warnings as gusts were expected to reach 60 miles per hour (96 kph) Monday evening through Tuesday, the National Weather Service (NWS) said.

The winds could blow down trees and electrical lines and cause scattered or widespread power outages, the service said in several regional advisories. The weather service also warned motorists driving high profile vehicles to use extra caution.

Coastal communities were warned strong gales could capsize or damage vessels and reduce visibility.

Several utility companies said on social media on Monday that they were preparing for the possible outages with additional crews on standby. Some 3,700 National Grid customers in upstate New York were without power on Monday, according to the power company.

Some spots across the region were also expecting a half inch (1.3 cm) of snow that could, along with the wind gusts, sharply reduce visibility for motorists.

Temperatures will also plummet as an arctic cold front moves through the region. Wind chills were forecast to reach -35 Fahrenheit (-37 C) in parts of Vermont, Maine and upstate New York, the NWS said.

Reporting by Brendan O’Brien in Chicago; editing by Richard Pullin