Storms, possible tornadoes slam Kentucky, Indiana; Florida to New England next in line

Kentucky and Indiana residents were recovering Thursday after a violent storm ripped through the area one day earlier, part of a severe weather pattern that raged through the nation’s midsection this week.

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer said he planned to declare a state of emergency Thursday after the storm hit central Kentucky, snapping utility poles, tossing debris into roadways and leaving about 19,000 Louisville area households without power Wednesday. Still, Fischer said Louisville was “very fortunate” to have no reported deaths.

“This was a devastating storm,” Fischer said at a Thursday news conference.

Jefferson County Public Schools canceled classes Thursday, citing widespread power outages and a number of blocked roads.

The National Weather Service was investigating whether a tornado touched down in Kentucky’s Jefferson County after several reports of wind damage. Tornado warnings and severe thunderstorm warnings with wind gusts up to 80 mph were issued for much of the Louisville region.

By Thursday morning, power was restored to most households with a few thousand still without power, according to Louisville Gas & Electric.

The National Weather Service was also investigating a possible tornado near Bedford, a small city in southern Indiana, after powerful winds knocked down trees and blew out windows Wednesday night. Much of Bedford was left without power Wednesday, county officials said.

“It could have been far, far worse based on the (social media) videos I’ve seen,” said Valerie Luchauer, director of Lawrence County Emergency Management.

The stretch of severe weather, which left 23 people injured when a tornado hit central Texas on Tuesday, is not finished yet. Another round of strong thunderstorms was possible Thursday from New England to northern Florida, according to AccuWeather and localNational WeatherServicestations.

AccuWeather forecasts that the severe weather risk Thursday will be significantly less than that of a storm system that tore through southern and central U.S. this week, producing softball-size hail and tornadoes. But some areas may still see up to pea or marble-size hail, strong wind gusts, torrential downpours and localized power outages Thursday.

Storms may also cause flight delays at major air travel hubs, including New York City, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C. and Atlanta.

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