Storm leaves 300,000 without power, halts PATCO for morning commute [photos]

UPDATE (6:30 a.m.): PATCO in New Jersey and some SEPTA lines remain stopped this morning, and power outages have left more than 300,000 homes dark in the Philadelphia region and South Jersey.

Crews are scambling to return power in the aftermath of fierce thunderstorms that ripped through the region about 6 p.m. yesterday.

Last night, the storm also halted service on all SEPTA regional rail lines due to severe weather conditions and signal problems.

Knocking out power along the Patco High Speed Line, the storm stranded homeward-bound commuters on the train line between Philadelphia and South Jersey.

Power outages to PSE&G customers in towns surrounding Cherry Hill also were reported.

The storm cut a swath through Deptford, New Jersey, pulling off tree limbs and tearing down powerlines.

In Pennsylvania, the outages were concentrated in Chester and Delaware counties.

Amtrak suspended its Northeast Corridor and Keystone services between Washington, Philadelphia and Harrisburg.

The National Weather Service issued a tornado warning for parts of Chester County and severe thunderstorm and flood warnings for other areas, warning of storms “capable of producing destructive winds in excess of 70 mph.

A 71 mph wind gust was recorded at Philadelphia International Airport.

The severe storms boiled across the country from the Midwest setting off tornadoes in their path. Tornado warnings remained in effect in several states Tuesday evening. And a severe thunderstorm watch will continue until 11 p.m. through most of the Delaware Valley.

Before the storms blackened the sky and apilled torrential rain, temperatures reached into the 90s in Philadelphia. Several people were treated for heat-related issues at a high school graduation in South Jersey, where temperatures were in the high 80s.

The storms were expected to bring cooler, less humid condition to the region by Wednesday morning.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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