Severe US thunderstorms in the northeast halt concerts, play at US Open; lightning hits 3 men

Kathy Matheson / The Associated Press
September 1, 2014 03:26 AM

A tennis fan stops for a photo as she exits the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center during a rain delay at the 2014 U.S. Open tennis tournament, Sunday, Aug. 31, 2014, in New York. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

PHILADELPHIA - Severe thunderstorms across the northeastern U.S. delayed flights, halted outdoor sports events and concerts in New York and Philadelphia and sent people scurrying from a beach after three men were struck by lightning.

The men were injured at a beach in New York City's Bronx section Sunday evening as bad storms rolled through, the Fire Department of New York said. The men were being treated at a hospital and the extent of their injuries was unknown.

Torrential rain, thunder and lightning interrupted the Labor Day holiday weekend celebrations in Philadelphia, where a music concert was evacuated for safety reasons. Labor Day marks the traditional end of summer in the U.S.

Besides temporarily stopping the Made in America concert, the bad weather also forced the early end to the Electric Zoo musical festival on an island in New York's East River and halted play for the first time at this year's U.S. Open tennis tournament in Queens.

Former champion Maria Sharapova took notice of the weather warnings as she answered questions about her loss to 10th-seeded Caroline Wozniacki just before the storm hit.

"Is that the flood warning? Darn it. If I was only there a little longer," she said to laughter.

The National Weather Service said wind damage and flash flooding hit East Orange, New Jersey, and large tree branches were down on Long Island.

More than 30 flights in and out of the New York metro area were delayed and at least one was cancelled because of the severe weather, according to the flight tracking website FlightAware. Storms also disrupted air travel in Philadelphia and the Baltimore-Washington region.

Flights leaving Newark Liberty in New Jersey and Washington Dulles in Virginia were held up nearly three hours, the Federal Aviation Administration said. Flights in and out of New York's Kennedy Airport and Philadelphia International Airport were delayed up to two hours.

In the Midwest, storms began sweeping across Iowa and Nebraska late Sunday with heavy rains causing some flooding and wind gusts affecting power lines and snapping tree limbs.

The National Weather Service said Iowa and Nebraska saw winds up to 90 mph (145 kph) that caused significant damage.

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