tampabay.com

Historic storm soaks Northeast

New Jersey is under a state of emergency as officials call it the worst storm in 15 years.

Associated Press
Published April 17, 2007


CROTON-ON-HUDSON, N.Y. - A menacing spring storm punished the Northeast for a second straight day Monday, sending refrigerators and pickups floating down rivers in one of the region's worst storms in recent memory.

"This one is really a horror show," New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer said after touring hard-hit areas north of New York City.

The nor'easter left a huge swath of devastation, from the beaches of South Carolina to the mountains of Maine. It knocked out power to hundreds of thousands of people and was blamed for at least 11 deaths nationwide, including a New Jersey man who drowned inside a car.

The storm showed no immediate sign of letting up. The National Weather Service predicted showers through Wednesday night in the New York City area, with rain mixed with snow at times.

By Monday afternoon, Tampa International Airport reported five canceled flights and more than 50 delays ranging from 30 minutes to 2 hours. The snags affected flights to and from New York, Providence, Newark, Baltimore, Boston and Philadelphia.

A domino effect from the delays also affected flights to and from Atlanta, a Delta hub, said TIA spokeswoman Brenda Geohagan.

The storm was especially harsh in the Westchester County suburbs north of New York City and in New Jersey, where the state was placed under a state of emergency and more than 1,400 residents were evacuated, many by boat.

Vermont got about 17 inches of snow, with flakes still falling Monday across sections of Pennsylvania, New York and Maine.

"We have incredible amounts of damage," said Steve Costello, a spokesman for Central Vermont Public Service, describing power lines brought down by high wind. "I've never seen anything like it."

New Jersey authorities called it the worst storm to hit the state in 15 years. Five homes burned down in one town after fire crews could not reach the buildings because of floodwaters.

"There was debris flowing down the river like you wouldn't believe - refrigerators, I mean, you name it, it was going down the river," said homeowner John Vitro, whose basement at one point had water 5 feet high.

Wind gusts registered 60 mph near Boston, where runners had to contend with rain and 52 mph winds during the Boston Marathon.

Gusts exceeding 80 mph in Maine toppled trees and drove rain that flooded roads and sank boats. In New Hampshire, a landslide forced the closing of part of the state's major east-west route.

Times staff writer Michael A. Mohammed contributed to this report.