The fierce line of storms began as a cluster of thunderstorms in the Chicago area late Friday morning. By early afternoon, it quickly took on a more ominous "bow" shape on the radar over northern Indiana, signaling a powerful surge of winds -- leaving millions of people without power to combat the thermostat-popping temperatures.
Numerous trees and branches were downed across north-central Indiana. Fort Wayne International Airport recorded gusts of up to 146 km/h. By mid-afternoon, reports came in of widespread tree and power line damage, as well as siding being blown off homes.
Surrounding counties reported radio towers blown down and trucks rolled over by the catastrophic straight-line winds. At least two buildings completely lost their roofs in Richmond, Indiana.
The storms continued to soar across western Ohio, where gusts reached a violent 135 km/h in the northwest. The entire state of Ohio, West Virginia, Virginia, and the District of Columbia and parts of New Jersey were in a continued state of emergency Saturday.
Wind gusts of over 97 km/h were observed in the Cincinnati metro area. After 5 p.m. local time, the storms brushed northern portions of Kentucky as well.
Just over an hour later, the menacing storms pushed across the Ohio River into West Virginia. Nearly half the state was without power Saturday, with temperatures nearing the mid-40 degree Celsius mark. Downed power lines interrupted the service's of Pinterest, Instagram, Netflix, and Heroku -- all based out of northern Virginia.
Over 400,000 customers lost power in D.C. and the Maryland suburbs where reports came in that officials have created the equivalent a hurricane restoration effort to their system.