Sunday, March 14, 2010

UPDATE: Post-Snow, Northeast Mops Up From Wind-Driven Rain

Last month, the Northeast was smothered by blizzards. Now, it's waterlogged by torrential rains.

The region mopped up today following a bout with high wind and heavy rains that uprooted trees, downed power lines and flooded some creeks and rivers. Five people died in storm-related accidents and hundreds of thousands were without electricity.

More than a half-million customers in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York and Connecticut lost electricity at the peak of Saturday's storm, which carried wind gusts of up to 70 mph. It came about two weeks after heavy snow and hurricane-force winds left more than a million customers in the Northeast in the dark.

Farther north in Jackson Township, drivers were negotiating stretches of flooded roadways and detours caused by fallen trees and accidents.

In Manhattan, Broadway's sidewalks and trash cans were littered with hundreds of shattered umbrellas.

At the storm's peak, more than 265,000 customers in the New York City area and 235,000 customers in New Jersey were without power. The Philadelphia area reported 70,000 customers without electricity, while more than 80,000 customers in Connecticut sat in the dark.

PECO, an electric company serving the Philadelphia area, had assistance from crews from western Pennsylvania and Michigan, but some customers may have to wait until Monday for power to be restored, spokesman Fred Maher said.

Falling trees proved to be a deadly hazard...

One person was killed and three others were injured in Westport, Conn., after a tree fell on a car Saturday night during the storm, police said.

Authorities in the suburb of Teaneck, N.J., said two neighbors were killed by a falling tree as they headed home from a prayer service at a synagogue. The men -- 49-year-old Ovadia Mussaffi, president of the Sephardic Congregation of Teaneck, and 54-year-old Lawrence Krause -- were struck by a large oak tree around 7 p.m., Bergen County Prosecutor John L. Molinelli said Sunday.

In Hartsdale, N.Y., another suburb, a man was killed when a large tree crushed the roof of his car and entangled it in live wires. Brendan McGrath, 58, of Auburn, N.Y., was found dead in his 2009 Hyundai sedan. His wife, Mary, also 58, escaped from the passenger side.

In Rhode Island, an off-duty state trooper died in a crash early Sunday after his car hydroplaned in a large patch of standing water left from the weekend's storms, state police said. James Dougherty Jr., a 41-year-old detective sergeant, was killed in West Greenwich.

The storm also left damaged buildings in its wake...

In Uniondale, N.Y., the aging Nassau Coliseum lost three pieces of its aluminum facade about 90 minutes before the start of the New Jersey Devils and New York Islanders National Hockey League game.

In Atlantic City, the horizontal arm of a boom crane plunged 47 floors at the Revel Casino construction site. Debris went flying and crashed through the driver's side window of a police cruiser; the officer suffered minor injuries.

Strong winds fueled a fire that started in a home in Ocean Grove, N.J., and quickly spread. At least four homes were destroyed, and a historic inn was damaged.

Flood warnings were issued for rivers in northern Jersey, including the Ramapo River at Mahwah and Saddle River at Lodi, where minor to moderate flooding was expected Sunday. A coastal flood advisory was in effect for the Jersey Shore.

n suburban New York City, the storm caused major erosion at Jones Beach, where the entire sand area was underwater Sunday, and all trails at Long Island's state parks had to be closed because at least 100 trees had fallen. It will take weeks to restore the sand and clean the parks, state parks spokesman George Gorman said.

In northern New England, a wind advisory and flood watch were in effect for extreme southern Maine and parts of New Hampshire.

The Weather Channel; NOAA; AP.

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