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Two dead, thousands without power as storms batter eastern US

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The NWS issued flash flood warnings for Washington and the cities of Arlington and Alexandria in neighboring Virginia until 2.45am on Tuesday (2.45pm, Singapore time). 

Hail as large as 11.5cm in diameter was recorded in Virginia, the NWS said.

In Alabama, a 28-year-old man died after being struck by lightning in an industrial park parking lot, a local ABC station reported.

And in South Carolina, a 15-year-old was killed when he was hit by a falling tree outside his grandparents’ house, according to a local CBS station.

By early Tuesday, nearly 600,000 customers were without power along the East Coast, from Pennsylvania to Georgia, according to tracking website PowerOutage.us.

Local media and government agencies in Maryland released images of downed power lines strewn across streets, and trees that fell into homes and across roads and rail lines.

Other southern states experienced similar storm damage, with Georgia Power releasing photos of fallen trees that pulled down power lines due to high winds, hail and heavy rain.

“Our crews are working safely and as quickly as possible to get the lights back on,” the electric utility said on X, formerly known as Twitter.

More than 1,700 US flights were cancelled on Monday and more than 8,000 delayed as the severe weather loomed, website FlightAware said.

In Washington, federal agencies sent employees home early at 3pm on Monday (Tuesday, 4am, Singapore time) in anticipation of the weather.

The storms came as large parts of the southern United States, including Texas, Louisiana and Florida boiled under excessive heat warnings, with temperatures up to 42 degrees Celsius predicted through Tuesday.

Scientists say climate change has amplified the intensity and frequency of extreme weather events around the world.

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