Tags: US | Stormy | Weather

Rain Damage, Detours Hinder Commutes in Northeast

Monday, 15 Mar 2010 07:08 AM

 

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A torrential rainstorm that brought heavy winds to the Northeast, causing damage and flooding, created some minor headaches for commuters Monday.

At least seven people died in storm-related accidents over the weekend, and nearly half a million people were without electricity in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York and Connecticut at the peak of the storm.

Authorities warned that the storm could cause rush-hour delays on Monday morning, but the impact was relatively minor, especially compared with the havoc wreaked by nasty winter storms in recent months.

In Boston, the transit authority shut down some sections of subway and trolley lines on Sunday, but the lines were mostly re-open on Monday. Several highway ramps in Massachusetts remained closed.

NJ Transit shortened the routes of trains on the Montclair-Boonton line, having trains stop in Hoboken rather than going into Manhattan. The Long Island Railroad pumped out an East River tunnel, allowing trains to pass through normally.

In New Jersey, Gov. Chris Christie declared a state of emergency, which would allow National Guard troops to be called up if needed. In signing the declaration Sunday night, Christie said he wants to ensure local and county resources are supplemented if needed.

Utility crews were making headway in restoring power. In New Jersey, for example, about 100,000 customers were without service Monday, down from a peak of 235,000. In Connecticut, where a handful of schools were closed, two major utility companies said more than 57,000 customers were still without power, down from a peak of about 80,000.

The storm, which carried wind gusts of up to 70 mph, came about two weeks after heavy snow and hurricane-force winds left more than 1 million customers in the Northeast in the dark.

"I spent most of the past few months clearing snow and ice out my driveway, sidewalks, front walks, and now we're picking up all these branches," Jack Alexander said Sunday as he and his family worked to clear debris from the front yard of their Egg Harbor City home. "It seems like we've had every type of weather event you could have this winter — I'm almost afraid to see what else can happen."

In Atlantic City, N.J., residents in a condominium complex and two apartment buildings were ordered to leave their homes Saturday after a crane snapped and twisted at the Revel Entertainment casino construction site, sending debris crashing through a window of a police cruiser. No one was hurt. The residents may not be able to return until Tuesday.

Hundreds of people remained out of their homes in the northern New Jersey community of Bound Brook, where flooding is common.

Among those in a shelter were the Malik family, including eldest son Norbert, who celebrated his ninth birthday Sunday. His mom said he had cried Saturday night because he was worried the storm would ruin his celebration. Instead, he said it was the best birthday he ever had.

"I got to ride in a police boat, and then a truck and a small bus," said Norbert.

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

Falling trees proved to be a deadly hazard.

A New Jersey woman was killed and three others were injured in Westport, Conn., after a tree fell on a car Saturday night during the storm, police said. Another woman died when a tree struck her as she was walking in Greenwich, Conn., they said.

In the suburb of Teaneck, N.J., two neighbors were killed by a falling tree as they headed home from a prayer service at a synagogue. 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.

In New Hampshire, a large pine tree fell on a car traveling on Interstate 93 on Sunday afternoon, killing a man and injuring his wife and child, state police said.

And in Rhode Island, an off-duty state trooper died early Sunday after his car hydroplaned in standing water left from the storm, state police said.

——

Associated Press writers Karen Matthews in New York and Samantha Henry in Bound Brook, N.J., contributed to this report.

© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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