Record storm lashes Northeast
By William M. Welch, USA TODAY
Soaked and battered from a severe spring storm that delivered heavy rain, snow and winds, residents across the Northeast faced rising floodwaters Monday that forced hundreds from their homes. Tens of thousands of others were left without power.
The huge, winterlike storm cut a corridor of devastation from South Carolina to Maine and deposited heavy snow in parts of the inland Northeast. It was blamed for at least 11 deaths nationwide.
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"This one is really a horror show," New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer said.
Rivers in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Connecticut and Massachusetts were at or near record flood levels after torrential storms Sunday. At midday Monday, more than 8 inches of rain fell in New York City's Central Park and 9.3 inches in Riverdale, N.J., the National Weather Service said.
The rain sent rivers over banks, flooding towns along the Northeast, from Baltimore to north of New York City. "The flooding is bad, and it will be a couple days before it ceases," says Greg Forbes, severe weather expert for The Weather Channel. "In some places, it's the worst flooding since the '70s or '80s."
In New Jersey, hundreds of residents were waiting for streams to recede so they can return home. More than 1,400 people had been evacuated and more than 50 roads were closed or partially closed, the Associated Press reported.
Inland, several inches of snow accumulated Monday in central Pennsylvania and New York state after as much as 2 feet fell in parts of the Adirondack Mountains. Rain and snow showers were forecast to continue today across the upper Northeast as the storm drifts out to sea, while Mid-Atlantic states will see clearing but continued chilly temperatures, according to The Weather Channel.
More than 780,000 customers lost power from Maine to North Carolina, according to an AP count.
In Vermont, 17 inches of snow and wind gusts as high as 70 mph caused heavy damage to transmission systems and widespread loss of electric service.
"This is one of the biggest storms we've ever experienced," said Christine Rivers, spokeswoman for Central Vermont Public Service. More than 40,000 central Vermont homes and businesses were without power, Rivers said. She said many would probably be without electricity until the end of the week.
Airlines struggled to get service back to normal as the rains lessened. About 250 flights at the New York City area's three major airports were canceled Monday, following 600 cancellations Sunday, said Marc Lavorgna, spokesman for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.
The storm weakened Monday as it moved up through New England, but it still delivered soaking rains and battering winds across Maine. In New York state, hundreds were evacuated from flooded homes, and hundreds of thousands were without power.
Rain forced cancellation of the Philadelphia Phillies' home game against the New York Mets. In Boston, the morning game between the Red Sox and the Los Angeles Angels was delayed two hours, and the marathon was run in wet, windy conditions. Atop Mount Washington, N.H., wind gusts as high as 156 mph equal to a Category 5 hurricane and sustained winds of 100 mph were reported by the observatory.
The AP reported 11 storm deaths. In Maine, a woman and a 4-year-old girl died when they were swept into floodwaters in Lebanon. One person died in a car stalled in water in an underpass in New Jersey, one person was killed by a tornado in South Carolina, and two died in car accidents one in Upstate New York, another in Connecticut. The same storm was blamed for five deaths earlier in Texas and Kansas.
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