Rain-Soaked, Wind-Whipped Northeast Getting Back On Its Feet

By | October 17, 2005

Emergency and utility crews across the Northeast worked Sunday to repair the damage caused by several days of rain and floods, but strong winds continued to cause problems.

Parts of the Northeast had received more than a foot of rain since Oct. 7, according to the National Weather Service. The storm system killed at least 12 people from Pennsylvania to Maine. The latest death was discovered Sunday in Connecticut, where authorities said 54-year-old Elizabeth Cunningham fell into the rapids of the Natchaug River.

Only scattered showers were reported in the region Sunday, but wind gusts topping 40 mph brought down trees and knocked out power.

Most electricity was restored before midnight, but the wind was blamed for at least 11,500 power outages during the day in Connecticut, 10,000 in Massachusetts, 7,300 Rhode Island and 6,500 in New Jersey.

Flood advisories also remained in effect for many areas, as officials in Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island and New Hampshire continued to monitor swollen rivers and streams.

Hundreds of people in the region were evacuated during the heavy rain, but many had returned home Sunday morning. The Red Cross said others had found shelter with friends or family. Emergency shelters in New Hampshire, where 1,300 residents in Keene spent part of the previous weekend because of flooding, were closed Sunday.

In a signal to storm-weary residents that the worst was over, Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney lifted a state of emergency declaration on Sunday. New Jersey’s emergency declaration was lifted Saturday night.

“The all clear will be sounded on a local basis,” Romney said.

People should continue to “keep an eye out the window,” said Fire Chief Keith Gilbert, in Henniker, N.H. “Essentially, the river is coming up, but it’s coming up at a fairly slow pace.

“As long as they’re up and awake and keeping an eye on it, I don’t think it’s any problem for residents to stay home.”

Romney said a power outage at the Deer Island Sewage Treatment Plant in Boston spilled an unknown amount of sewage into Boston Harbor. In Worcester, he said, a treatment plant spilled millions of gallons of sewage into the Blackstone River.

Associated Press Writers Richard C. Lewis in Providence, R.I., Stephen Singer in Hartford and Beverley Wang in Henniker, N.H., contributed to this report. Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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