Thunderstorms erupted over the Southeast Tuesday and hail and high winds raked Alabama, Georgia and the Carolinas, while severe storms in the Northeast left thousands of homes without electricity.
In Quincy, Mass., lightning struck the chimney at Atherton Hough Elementary School, smashed a hole in the roof and cut off power. There were no injuries, but classes were over for the day for the 297 pupils, Rita Fornaro at the school said.
Storms in Massachusetts felled trees and brought down power lines. About 12,000 customers in the Worcester area lost power, as did about 11,500 residents of suburban Boston, officials said.
Schools also were closed in two western Pennsylvania communities, Bethel Park and Avella, because of power failures caused by 60-m.p.h. winds Monday night. Power to about 70,000 homes in western Pennsylvania was knocked out, but was restored by late Tuesday.
In North Carolina, a 37-year-old woman was killed Monday night when lightning struck a tree and a large limb fell on the truck she was driving.
At Piedmont Triad International Airport in the Winston-Salem area, winds were clocked at 72 m.p.h., just 2 m.p.h. below hurricane force.
On Monday, the fierce thunderstorms knocked out power to perhaps 23,000 homes in North Carolina, utility officials said. High winds also blew the roofs off five apartment buildings in Burlington, officials said.
In Centreville, Ala., the National Weather Service recorded hailstones the size of quarters, although no property damage or traffic problems were reported.
In Jacksonville, Fla., a weatherman and a cameraman for a local television station suffered burns when a gust of wind blew the antenna on their remote-broadcast van into a power line.
The 24,000-volt charge surging through the van's wiring caused electrical equipment inside to explode, Paul Baldwin, news director at WLTV-TV, said of the accident Monday.