TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — The Latest on storms and cold weather (all times local):
Around 420,000 customers were without power up and down the Eastern Seaboard and in Ohio as severe thunderstorms moved through the region.
A survey of outages maps for electric utilities from South Carolina up to Maine indicated that thousands of homes and businesses were without power just before midnight Thursday. The Carolinas, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New York and Ohio recorded a particularly high number of outages.
Shortly after midnight, a tornado warning was issued for parts of New Jersey, not far from the Pennsylvania border. A National Weather Service statement advising people to take cover immediately said “a severe thunderstorm capable of producing a tornado” was located just north of Trenton, moving northeast at 55 mph (90 kph), with radar indicating rotation.
The weather service said storms carrying damaging winds and torrential rainfall would continue to push north overnight, possibly downing trees and causing flooding.
Thousands of homes and businesses are without power as storms move across the southeastern United States ahead of a cold front that will send temperatures plummeting.
About 65,000 power customers were in the dark Thursday morning in Louisiana, Alabama, Georgia and Tennessee.
Officials say outages could spread as a line of storms moves eastward with gusty winds and heavy rains. Trees were reported down in the western Carolinas and Tennessee.
Storms raked across the central United States from the Gulf Coast to the Great Lakes ahead of an arctic blast that forecasters say could bring record cold to the South.
Temperatures were predicted to drop as much as 30 degrees in a few hours on Thursday. Forecasters said severe storms were possible from Alabama to New England. Winds were gusting above 30 mph (48 kph) in some areas, but no damage was reported immediately.
A freeze warning reached across more than dozen states, from southwestern Texas into the South and Midwest.
The storms provided another round of drought relief across the Southeast after weeks of dry weather endangered crops and increased fire risks. But a new federal report showed much of Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina are still too dry.