Monday, August 29, 2011

Hurricane Irene leaves US trail of destruction 1,100 miles long

Dominic Rushe in the Guardian (UK): As the remnants of hurricane Irene began to dissipate over Canada, the death toll from the storm continued to rise and widespread flooding affected states across the US north-east. The huge, slow-moving storm travelled along 1,100 miles of US coastline leaving a trail of destruction reaching far inland. At least 28 deaths have so far been attributed to Irene with about 3 million people left without power along its path.

People have struggled to get back to work as officials tried to remove fallen trees from roads and train tracks and clear flooded tunnels. Airports across the region have started to operate again but had to deal with around 9,000 flights cancelled as Irene struck.

More than 250 roads were closed in Vermont as the state experienced its worst floods for 75 years. Governor Peter Shumlin declared the state a federal disaster area as hundreds were told to leave their homes.

"We prepared for the worst and we got the worst in central and southern Vermont," Shumlin said. "We have extraordinary infrastructure damage."

On Sunday, up to 13 inches (33cm) of rain fell on states across the east coast, with more than 10 inches falling in parts of North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, Delaware and upstate New York. Irene followed record rainfalls earlier this month, bursting the banks of already swollen rivers in several states. On 14 August, nearly eight inches of rain fell in New York city, the most since the National Weather Service began keeping records 116 years ago….

Floodwaters from Tin Brook near downtown Walden, NY, USA following Hurricane Irene, shot by Daniel Case, Wikimedia Commons, under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license

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