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Destructive summer storms to batter millions, forecasters warn

An extensive system of storms that flattened homes, flooded neighborhoods and triggered tornadoes split, reignited and threatened yet more damage early Monday.

The severe weather battered a vast area from New Hampshire to North Carolina and from Michigan to northern Louisiana on Sunday. Six tornadoes reportedly touched down, more than 200,000 customers were left without power and thousands of flights were canceled or delayed.

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By 4 a.m. Monday, the Northeast began seeing the first evidence of another tumultuous day, with New York City bearing the early brunt. Heavy rain and localized flooding were reported while Long Island was experiencing thunderstorms, Weather Channel lead meteorologist Kevin Roth said.

Casandra Fulton (L) helps her aunt Gloria Johns collect what she can from the kitchen in what is left of her house after it was destroyed when a tornado hit on Monday on May 1, 2014 in Louisville, Mississippi.
Joe Raedle | Getty Images News
Casandra Fulton (L) helps her aunt Gloria Johns collect what she can from the kitchen in what is left of her house after it was destroyed when a tornado hit on Monday on May 1, 2014 in Louisville, Mississippi.

After a short break later in the morning, the system was expected to spread to New England and West Virginia from around 1 p.m.

While Sunday's storm covered one large area, Monday's bout of extreme weather was forecast to impact on two sections of the country. After its northern section batters the Northeast, the South was set to be slammed in the afternoon. Roth said strong straight-line winds were predicted to do damage from North Carolina across the Gulf Coast to New Orleans.

Tennessee was particularly hard hit by Sunday's storms. Four tornadoes were reported to the National Weather Service across the state—one of these could have been responsible for flattening 10 homes just north of Knoxville. Another tornado was confirmed in Wolcott, Connecticut, at 12:50 p.m., and another was reported but unconfirmed in Ritchie, West Virginia, just after 8 p.m.

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By 4 a.m. ET on Monday, 145 flights were canceled and 181 delayed across the U.S. and Canada, according to FlightStats.com. The worst affected airports were Philadelphia International and Detroit Metropolitan, both of which were in the path of the bad weather. On Sunday, there were more than 500 cancellations and nearly 7,000 delays nationwide.

Roth said the storms were unusual for this time of year. A cold front was moving south through Tennessee, while a warm front was barreling east, from Michigan to southern New England.

By Alexander Smith and Tim Stelloh, NBC News

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