Gale-force winds, rain and snow lash much of Northeast

BOSTON — Gale-force winds lashed much of the Northeastern U.S. on Monday, prompting tornado watches and flash flood warnings.

“Hold on to your hats!” the National Weather Service in Boston tweeted as gusts exceeding 50 mph and heavy rainfall bore down on a large swath of southern New England.

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Authorities warned of the potential for widespread power outages and dangerous street flooding during the evening rush hour. They said there was a heightened risk of isolated tornadoes in some areas, including southeastern Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

As of 4:30 p.m. EST, more than 47,000 homes had lost power in Massachusetts, according to PowerOutage.US. Nearly 13,000 homes and businesses had lost power, mostly on Cape Cod, the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency said in a statement.

In Connecticut, the fast-moving storm knocked out power to more than 29,000 households, utilities said.

More than 32,000 people were without power in Rhode Island, and more than 23,000 were without electricity in New York.

Rich Barak of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution contributed to this report.