WASHINGTON (AP) --The mid-Atlantic region is bracing for a complex of storms that has already caused damage in the Midwest, knocking out power to tens of thousands.

The National Weather Service has issued severe thunderstorm watches and warnings for much of Maryland, Delaware, the District of Columbia and northern Virginia in effect through the morning Thursday.

Authorities in Ohio said high winds from possible tornadoes damaged barns in the northwest and knocked out power in some areas in the center of the Buckeye State on Wednesday.

Meteorologists warned about the possibility of a weather event called a derecho, which is a storm of strong straight-line winds spanning at least 240 miles.

While the Midwest dodged a derecho, several tornadoes, large hail and flooding did some damage.

13News Meteorologist Julie Wilcox says the storm is expected to trigger thunderstorms late this afternoon and evening. Some storms could be strong to severe, with high winds, heavy rain and an isolated tornado possible.

In Portsmouth, public works crews were cleaning out storm drains and ditches in the Cavalier Manor neighborhood Wednesday afternoon.

'Whenever we know storms are coming we check all the storm fall out drains to make sure they are not clogged, ' says Portsmouth Director of Public Works Youssef Khalil.

In Chesapeake, crews were doing pump maintenance at the Triple Decker Bridge after flooding there earlier this week.

According to Elizabeth Vaughn with Chesapeake Public Works, 'It's a good City-wide rule of thumb to keep all storm drains and ditches clear of litter and vegetative debris (sticks, leaves, etc.) at all times. Clear storm drains and ditches flow more efficiently. It's also better for the environment because both litter and vegetative waste will flow from storm drains directly to our water ways, creating lots of issues.'

There are things you can do to prepare your home for any storm. Clean out gutters, remove dead tree branches from your roof, secure loose items that can blow away and have a way to get up-to-date storm information.

Robb Braidwood with Chesapeake Emergency Management says you need to be ready in case the power goes out.

'Have a generator, have a backup kit, have emergency supplies and more importantly have a comprehensive plan of what your going to do, ' he said.

AP-WF-06-12-13 1744GMT

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