Massive storm front aims at Eastern seaboard

Last Updated 12:45 p.m. ET

A massive storm front that swept through the Southeast, producing extreme winds and tornadoes that left two people dead, takes aim Thursday at the heavily populated Eastern seaboard.

Forecasters said the vast storm front, which shattered homes and businesses around the Midwest and South with tornadoes and high winds, will continue to produce severe thunderstorms as the front slides out over the Atlantic.

By Thursday afternoon, it had spread tens of thousands of power outages from Georgia to Connecticut, triggered flash floods and forced water rescues in areas outside Washington.

Evacuations were ordered in parts of Virginia and Maryland with river levels on the rise. In Laurel, Md., outside Washington, officials were opening some dams to ease pressure after the heavy rains.

Authorities in Rhode Island said gusting winds blew the roof off a building in Central Falls. A wind gust of 63 mph was recorded in the Finger Lakes region of upstate New York as temperatures plunged with the cold air mass creeping up behind the front. Forecasters said snowfall was possible from the Great Lakes to the Northeast — some of it lake-effect snow.

Some flooding also was reported in North Carolina and West Virginia.

Along a path pocked by shattered homes and businesses, the storm unleashed tornadoes and dangerous winds Wednesday, easily flipping cars and trucks and cutting power to thousands.

In Adairsville, Ga., Anthony Raines, 51, was killed when a tree crashed down on his mobile home, crushing him on his bed, Bartow County Coroner Joel Guyton said.

One other death was reported in Tennessee when an uprooted tree fell onto a storage shed where a man had taken shelter.

Emergency responders in Virginia's Loudoun County said they conducted water rescues throughout the night after flooding there. WTOP radio reported one driver was plucked from the roof of a van after the vehicle went into a water-filled ravine; and in Pulaski County, Fire Chief Donald Boyd told CBS Affiliate WDBJ crews retrieved a woman who was stranded for more than two hours when her car plunged into Max Creek.

Water rescues were also reported in Montgomery County, Md.

Flooding also was reported in North Carolina, where 13,000 customers were without power Thursday. CBS Affiliate WGCL reports nearly 15,000 Georgia utility customers were still without power Thursday morning.

A vehicle lies on a road after a tornado moved through Adairsville, Ga., on Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2013.
AP Photo/David Goldman

Forecasters also said snowfall was possible in varying amounts from the Great Lakes region through the Northeast.

Late Wednesday morning, a tornado tore off parts of a large manufacturing plant and ripped homes to shreds in Adairsville, 60 miles north of Atlanta. Pieces of insulation dangled from trees and power poles. A bank lost a big chunk of its roof.

In addition to one dead, at least nine people were reported injured around town, reports CBS News correspondent Terrell Brown.

Police Chief Robert Jones estimated the funnel cloud at a quarter-mile wide and said it touched down and stayed on the ground for a full two miles.

Juanita Carter dove into the bathtub to take cover -- "We heard the sounds, there weren't no sirens or nothing" -- as the structure of her cinder block house collapsed around her.

"I'm just really glad my kids weren't home and they were at school," she told CBS News.