A severe storm brought torrential rain and powerful wind gusts to large swaths of the Northeast early Monday, knocking out power to more than 1 million homes and prompting officials to close schools and roads, and issue warnings of flash floods and mudslides.
The storm started brewing late Sunday night in the mid-Atlantic coast before unleashing large amounts of rain and devastating winds across coastal communities in New England as it worked its way north to places as far north as Maine, weather forecasters said.
Bill Simpson, spokesman for the National Weather Service in Boston, said it is unusual to see such a strong storm this time of year. "We usually get these type of storms in the late fall or winter," Simpson said.
As the storm moved north early Monday, tropical-force wind gusts pounded areas along the New England coast while other places were hit by hurricane-level wind gusts. Two places in Massachusetts recorded peak wind gusts of 93 mph, which are hurricane-strength.
In the wake of the storm, the devastating winds brought down power lines and left more than 1 million people across New England without power.
Without power, school districts across New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Maine, Vermont, Rhode Island and Connecticut were forced to cancel hundreds of classes.
In Portland, Maine, trees uprooted by powerful winds crushed cars, prompting officials to close some roadways. More than 470,000 homes and businesses lost power in Maine, and officials say it could be days before some residents can get power back.
The storm also disrupted transportation.
As people left their homes Monday morning in New York, some commuters who depend on the Long Island Rail Road services experienced delays caused by debris left on the tracks. Metro-North Railroad service in Connecticut was also delayed.
"Due to a mudslide and related signal power problems on the Danbury branch, service is currently suspended." Metro-North announced on Twitter.
Flash-flood warnings were triggered in some areas that experienced heavy rain. Flooding in Worcester, Mass., left stranded cars submerged in up to four feet of water. In Philadelphia, flooding led to some lane closures near Philadelphia International Airport.
By Monday morning, the storm dumped more than 5 inches of rain in parts of New Hampshire and West Virginia. Some of the heaviest rainfall hit Branford, Conn., where more than 6 inches fell.
Because the storm happened when trees in the region still had leaves, it caused more damage and debris than expected, Simpson said.
So far, no deaths have been reported.
Simpson expects wind gusts of 50 mph to continue in some areas into Tuesday even as the storm appears to be clearing out, but said officials will begin to focus on cleanup efforts. He expects normal weather to return by midweek.
3:40 p.m.: Updates throughout with staff reporting, new damage estimates.
7:50 a.m.: This article was updated with more than 700,000 without power, utility companies' estimation of how long service would be out and additional details.