New Jersey is under a state of emergency as flooding and wind pummel the Northeast
CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — A major storm drenched the Northeast and slammed it with fierce winds, knocking out power to hundreds of thousands following a bout of violent weather that struck most of the US.
The storm, which started Tuesday night and was moving out Wednesday, washed out roads and took down trees and power lines. Wind gusts reached 45 mph to 55 mph (72 kph to 88 kph) and more windy weather was expected throughout Wednesday.
It followed a day of tornadoes and deadly accidents in the South and blizzards in the Midwest and Northwest.
In New Jersey, where Gov. Phil Murphy declared a state of emergency in advance of the storm, many streets and roads were flooded and rivers were rising after some areas got up to 3 inches (7.6 centimeters) of rain since Tuesday night. The storm knocked out service on some train lines in New York City and flooded a highway in the Bronx, upending thousands of commuters on Wednesday morning.
In Maine, Gov. Janet Mills delayed the opening of all state offices until noon Wednesday due to the storm, which began as snow and later turned into rain in parts of New England. Heavy snow was hitting parts of northern Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine on Wednesday morning.
As high tide neared closer on Long Island on Wednesday morning, parts of the southern shore were already inundated by coastal flooding. In Nassau County, video showed cars sloshing through water that had collected on the streets of Freeport. Further east, near the Hamptons, the National Weather Service reported major flooding out of Shinnecock Bay. Several schools across Long Island said they were either canceling or delaying classes as a result of the storm.
The wild weather came as portions of the Northeast were still digging out from a nor’easter that dumped more than a foot of snow in some areas over the weekend.
In Danbury, Connecticut, officials said the snow that melted in the overnight rain had overwhelmed the city’s drainage capacity, leaving a dozen intersections flooded. At least one motorist was rescued from a vehicle.
Powerful winds gusted to 95 mph (153 kph) at Maine’s Isle au Haut, an island in Penobscot Bay, and to 83 mph (134 kph) off the coast of Rye New, Hampshire, said Jon Palmer from the National Weather Service in Gray, Maine.
Tens of thousands of homes and businesses were in the dark, mostly in coastal areas that were lashed by wind and rain. Farther inland, heavy wet snow blanketed the region.
On Tuesday, the same weather system brought heavy rain, hail and at least three reported tornadoes to the South before moving eastward.
Several deaths have been blamed on the storms. An 81-year-old woman in Alabama was killed when her mobile home was tossed from its foundation by a suspected tornado. Another person died in North Carolina after a suspected tornado struck a mobile home park. A man died south of Atlanta when a tree fell on his car. In the Midwest, slushy highways led to the deaths of a driver in Wisconsin and another in Michigan following collisions.
The National Weather Service office in Tallahassee planned to send out three tornado survey teams on Wednesday to examine suspected tornado damage in Walton, Bay and Jackson counties in Florida, and two more on Thursday to look at Houston County, Alabama, and Calhoun County, Georgia.
Roofs were blown off homes, furniture, fences and debris were strewn about during the height of the storm in the South.