Utility crews working to restore power to thousands nearly 2 days after deadly storms



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The National Weather Service has confirmed that a tornado destroyed the homes in upstate New York where four people were killed. (July 9)

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SMITHFIELD, New York — Utility crews worked Thursday to restore power in some Eastern states hit hard by severe storms nearly two days earlier, and one rural New York town picked through the debris from homes battered by a deadly tornado.

A total of five people died in Tuesday's strong storms that blew down buildings, trees and utility lines and left hundreds of thousands without power into early Thursday.

About 14,000 utility customers across New York were still without power Thursday, while about 16,400 were without electricity in Pennsylvania, down from a high of about 350,000 at the peak of the storms.

In the rural New York town of Smithfield, where a tornado touched down, four people were killed. They were identified by officials as Kimberly Hilliard, 35; her 4-month-old daughter, Paris Newman; Virginia Warner, 70; and Arnie Allen, 53.

Madison County Sheriff Allen Riley said four homes were destroyed and numerous others were damaged, with Allen's two-story home blown hundreds of feet before it landed on an unoccupied house.

The National Weather Service confirmed Thursday that two other tornadoes hit update New York. A tornado that hit Deerfield had wind speeds of 65 to 110 mph and was 60 yards wide, while one that hit Lowville packed wind speeds of 95 to 100 mph and was 300 yards at its widest. Investigators are still working to determine the strength of the Smithfield twister.

In Manchester, Maryland, a tree fell at the River Valley Ranch summer camp, killing one child and injuring six others headed to a shelter.

Tornadoes also touched down in Ohio and Pennsylvania.

Forecasters confirmed that at least two tornados hit different parts of Pennsylvania. The National Weather Service said a tornado packing maximum winds estimated at 90 mph touched down Tuesday afternoon near the western Pennsylvania town of Hoagland. Another tornado touched down Tuesday evening near New Albany in the northeastern part of the state.

The weather service said three small tornadoes also touched down in northeastern Ohio, causing minor damage.

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