Thunderstorms Likely in Philadelphia Area Tonight

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The National Weather Service is reporting a high chance of rain tonight, with the region in a severe thunderstorm watch until 8 p.m.

Strong storms have already developed in Central Pennsylvania. In addition to an 80 percent chance of rain Monday, the NWS also forecasts a 70 percent chance of rain on Tuesday night. A flash flood watch (details below) has been issued for Philadelphia and surrounding counties through Tuesday evening.

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Strong Storms Knock Out Power to Hundreds of Thousands

Violent storms whipped through the Philadelphia area last night, knocking out power to hundreds of thousands of customers. Winds gusted as high as 60 miles an hour.

PECO says 75,000 customers are still without power, down from a high of 204,000 around midnight.

It’ll take crews until the end of the week to restore power to all customers. Things could be worse: In Northwest Pennsylvania, tornado sightings were reported in Mercer County.

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10 Commandments of Riding SEPTA in a Heat Wave

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When Martha and the Vandellas sang, “It’s like a heatwave, burning in my heart,” they weren’t talking about Philadelphia in July. In Philadelphia, the heat waves tend to burn every where except our hearts: On the sidewalks, on our skin and in the crowded public corridors of city living. Nowhere is this more evident than on public transit. Frequent commuters know that the rules of riding SEPTA are often unspoken, but they hang in the air even when the humidity level drops below 98 percent. These rules, like our affection for the Phillies, change seasonally. (For the winter dos and don’ts, click here.)

Here, a rundown of how to keep your commute peaceful and, hopefully, just a little bit less gross:

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Will Hurricane Arthur Ruin Independence Day?

Just as we published this story about Tropical Storm Arthur ruining July 4th plans, Reuters comes out with new information:

Tropical Storm Arthur was expected to reach hurricane strength by Thursday, dousing some July Fourth holiday plans on the U.S. East Coast as officials closed beaches and tourist sites and delayed fireworks shows in anticipation of heavy rain and fierce winds.

[Original] AccuWeather says Tropical Storm Arthur could, um, dampen July 4 parties in Philadelphia, but there’s still time for the storm to turn away and leave us in our current state of heat-induced rage instead.

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First Named Storm of Season Could Bring Rain to Philadelphia

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On Tuesday Tropical Storm Arthur became the first named storm to form in the 2014 Atlantic hurricane season, and it’s headed up the East Coast.

Fortunately, Arthur is expected to stay out to sea. But, especially if it’s closer to the western edge of that possible track in the model, it could bring a lot of rain. Here’s the main issue with our region: Arthur is expected to become a hurricane at 8 a.m. on Friday off the coast of North Carolina. Your three-day holiday weekend might get rained on a bit.

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Lightning Strikes Suspected in Several Philly-Area Fires Overnight

Whew! What a storm last night, eh? I wouldn’t know — I live in an apartment that looks out onto two alleyways and slept right through everything — but apparently it was quite strong. Lightning struck several homes in the area and exploded a home’s chimney in Doylestown.

Firefighters also say a lightning strike may have ignited an abandoned home in Highland Township that took two fire companies an hour to get under control. In some areas, quarter-size hail fell during the storm, complicating things for people fighting fires.

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Heat Advisory in Effect Today

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CBS Philly says there’s a heat advisory out for Philadelphia and Camden today:

“The excessive heat poses a public health risk that can be deadly to residents if they do not take the proper precautions,” said Freeholder Carmen Rodriguez, liaison to the Camden County Department of Health and Human Services in a statement. “At this time we all need to pitch in to make sure no is overexposed to this heat wave. This means, as a community, we need to ensure everyone has access to cool areas and are properly hydrated.”

Officials say those most at risk in extreme heat are older people, those with chronic medical conditions such as heart disease, individuals taking certain regular medications, those with mental illnesses, pregnant women, small children, those who work in a high heat environment, and anyone engaged in strenuous physical activity.

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Here Comes the Rain Again

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The National Weather Service reports: “Area of heavy rain moving through NE MD, Northern Delaware, and SE PA through the morning commute. Rainfall rates exceeding an inch an hour are possible causing reduced visibilities and ponding on road surfaces. Areas of dense fog are also occurring in and around the Philadelphia metro area. Please use extra caution while traveling this morning.”

Golf Ball-Sized Hail Falls in Pennsylvania

Action News meteorologist Adam Joseph posted this photo to his Facebook page of incredibly large hail in reading. Enjoy your evening commute, everyone!

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