Storms packing hail and heavy rain flood roads and trigger alarms across Pennsylvania


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HARRISBURG, Pennsylvania — Powerful thunderstorms pelted central Pennsylvania with pea-sized hail Monday, turned roadways into rivers and sent residents fleeing to basements with menacing clouds, lightning and a tornado warning.

Sirens blared the warning in Cumberland and Perry counties, where gray clouds hung low over silos and fields. A Harrisburg school board meeting was halted Monday night as people scurried to shelter below ground.

No tornadoes were reported, but high winds downed trees and knocked out power. A wind advisory remained in effect early Tuesday for the Pittsburgh metropolitan area and eight surrounding counties, with forecasts of 20 to 25 mph sustained winds and gusts of up to 50 mph.

Several thousand people, from Pittsburgh to Philadelphia, were without power early Tuesday. Hail covered some lawns, while heavy rain — 1.3 inches in Harrisburg and 1.8 inches in Williamsport— quickly overwhelmed roads.

Firefighters in Altoona used long, hooked poles to unclog drains as swollen streets threatened to spill flood waters into nearby businesses. A minor league baseball game between the Altoona Curve and the Harrisburg Senators was suspended in the fifth inning Monday night.

In State College, more than a foot of water halted cars on a main artery near Penn State's campus.

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