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A powerful line of thunderstorms, fueled in part by a historic heat wave, brought widespread wind damage from Indiana all the way to the Mid-Atlantic coast on Friday and Friday night.
The line of thunderstorms, known as a derecho, began as a cluster of thunderstorms in the Chicago area late Friday morning. By the early afternoon hours, it quickly took on the more ominous "bow" shape on radar imagery over northern Indiana, signaling a powerful surge of winds at the apex of the "bow echo", a reference to the shape of a bow and arrow.
READ MORE: What is a Derecho?
Storm Prediction Center
Numerous trees and branches were downed across north-central Indiana. At 2:54 p.m. EDT, when the storms arrived at Fort Wayne International Airport, winds gusted to 91 mph.
Widespread tree and power line damage was reported throughout the city with siding blown off homes. Surrounding counties reported radio towers blown down and trucks rolled over by the ferocious straight-line winds. At least two buildings lost their roofs in Richmond, Ind.
The vicious line of storms continued unimpeded across the relatively flat farmland into western Ohio, where an 84-mph gust was clocked at Paulding in the northwest part of the state. Widespread damage was reported to trees, barns, and power lines.
The line quickly advanced into many of the Buckeye State's major metropolitan areas, producing gusts of 82 mph in both Dayton and Columbus at 4:18 and 4:54 p.m. EDT, respectively. Structural damage was reported at the Dayton Mall. Trees were uprooted in several areas, and trees were blown down on the Ohio State University campus in Columbus.
Governor John Kasich declared a state of emergency for Ohio in the wake of the storms. At one point, about one million customers were without power.
Wind gusts over 60 miles per hour were also observed in the Cincinnati metro area. After 5 p.m., the storms started to brush northern and northeastern Kentucky as well.
In the aftermath of the storms, a man was killed in Clark County, Ky., when a tree fell on him while he attempted to clear limbs from a roadway near Middletown.
DETAILS: Interactive storm reports map
Radar imagery of Friday's derecho. Note the bow-shaped radar signature as the line of storms crossed Ohio and West Virginia.
By 6:30 p.m., the storms pushed across the Ohio River into West Virginia, with more reports of shingle and roof damage. Numerous trees fell, some trapping people in their homes.
Yeager Airport, the main airport in the state capital of Charleston, recorded a 77-mph wind gust at 7:20 p.m. EDT.
Governor Earl Ray Tomblin declared a state of emergency for the entire state of West Virginia Saturday morning. An estimated half million people were without power, nearly one-third of the state's population, with temperatures near 100 degrees in the forecast.
Washington D.C. and the Mid-Atlantic States
The line of storms continued across the Appalachians with no reduction in intensity. Storms crossed into western Virginia after 8 p.m. The main airport in Roanoke, Va., recorded an 81-mph wind gust at 9:08 p.m. EDT. Dozens of reports of tree damage came in as storms crossed the Old Dominion.
This pizzeria in Springfield, Va., was closed Saturday due to lack of power. Scenes like this were common across the Washington, D.C. area. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)
By 10 p.m., storms were approaching the Washington, D.C. metro area, continuing to produce powerful wind gusts. Reagan National and Dulles International airports recorded wind gusts of 70 and 71 mph, respectively, between 10 and 11 p.m. Six people were killed by falling trees statewide. Some roofs were reported to have caved in under falling trees.
Over 400,000 customers lost power in D.C. and the Maryland suburbs. Falling trees killed two people in separate incidents in Maryland.
In a message on Twitter, Dominion Virginia Power said the storms "have created the equivalent of a hurricane restoration effort on our system" as well as other systems as far west as Indiana. Governor Bob McDonnell said 2.5 million Virginians lost power at the height of the storm.
Damage was reported as far south as the Raleigh-Durham area in North Carolina due to wind gusts associated with the southern edge of this powerful line of storms between 10 p.m. and midnight EDT.
By 1 a.m. EDT Saturday, the derecho was crossing southern New Jersey, and the final reports of wind damage came in around 1:40 a.m. in Tuckerton, N.J., where winds gusted to 81 mph. Two people were killed at Parvin State Park in Salem County when powerful winds toppled a pine tree onto a tent at 12:50 a.m.
Watch The Weather Channel this weekend as Mike Seidel covers the aftermath of the storms live from the Washington, D.C. area.