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Irene leaves trail of destruction along Eastern seaboard


amny Photo Credit: Residents of Red Hook bike through flooded streets/Getty

Residents along the Eastern seaboard yesterday began dealing with the aftermath of Hurricane Irene, whose wrath contributed to the deaths of at least 19 people in eight states and will likely result in billions of dollars in damage after the final tally.

While the menacing 480-mile-wide storm didn't create the widespread doomsday scenarios some predicted, it nevertheless caused considerable flooding, forced the evacuation of some 3 million people, and left as many as 3.4 million households without electricity.

Irene was the first hurricane to hit the U.S. mainland since Ike pounded Texas in 2008.

Even in weakened form, the storm unleashed major floods upstate and in New England, along with winds that howled as high as 95 miles per hour on Mount Washington. Here’s a state-by-state look at some of Irene’s destruction as it marched toward New York:

New Jersey - Some of the worst of the hurricane was felt in the Garden State, where Irene made its second landfall yesterday before dawn with 75 mph winds causing flooding, downed trees and power outages. More than half a million families were still without power yesterday morning, and it could take up to a week for service to be restored, utility officials said. Gov. Chris Christie said that he expects billions of dollars in damage.

Pennsylvania - In Philadelphia, which received about six inches of rain, residents are coping with some of the highest levels of flooding ever recorded there, and officials were dealing with the collapse of seven buildings, according to The New York Times. There were no reports of injuries.

Delaware - In addition to the heavy rains, Delaware was one of three states where tornadoes spawned by Irene touched down, according to USA Today. Fifteen buildings in the historic shore town of Lewes were destroyed.

Virginia - More than 1 million households were still without power yesterday afternoon, the Washington Post reported, making it the second biggest power outage in the state's history, officials said. Also in Virginia, four people died, including an 11-year-old boy in Newport News, who was killed when a tree crashed through his home.

North Carolina - The state that sustained Irene’s initial hard hit on Saturday also had the highest death toll, at six. The deaths included a 4-year-old girl who was killed in a car crash at a Goldsboro intersection, where the storm had knocked out the traffic lights. The state’s agriculture industry also likely took a blow, authorities said.

(with Reuters) 


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