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Inches of rain climb as storm churns across Northeast

LEVITTOWN, N.Y. — Flooding posed a threat around the Northeast on Friday after a pounding storm submerged cars, cut power to thousands and forced scattered evacuations as it crept up the East Coast.

The rain had largely subsided in hard-hit Pennsylvania, New York and New England by Friday evening. But flood warnings and watches remained in effect in areas that were drenched with more precipitation than they usually get in months — up to 6 inches in mere hours in some places.

The storm was blamed for five deaths in North Carolina on Thursday and a sixth in Pennsylvania on Friday — a woman who apparently drove her car into a rain-swollen creek before daybreak.

A great swath of the Northeast was soaked by the morning commute, including New York City and Philadelphia. Flights coming into LaGuardia Airport in New York City were delayed three hours and traffic into Manhattan was delayed up to an hour.

Firefighters in the Philadelphia area used a ladder truck to pull residents through the upper-floor windows of a building. Cars were submerged up to their windows, and one man found another vehicle floating atop his car.

"I'm a little frustrated, but what can you do? This is just nature," said the man, 33-year-old graphic artist Ismail Dibona.

Rainfall in the Philadelphia area topped 10 inches. Parts of upstate New York had unofficial totals of more than 6 inches of rain and New York City's Central Park recorded 3.08 inches.

More than 50,000 power outages were reported in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Jersey and the New York City suburbs during the brunt of the storm Friday morning, but many customers had power restored by the afternoon.

Several roads in Vermont were closed or restricted after upwards of 51/2 inches of rain drenched parts of the state and sent rivers and streams overflowing their banks. In Montpelier, nonessential state workers were sent home Friday after the Winooski River threatened state parking lots.

The flooding might have been worse if not for a dry spell across much of the Northeast, said New Jersey State climatologist Dave Robinson.

"The saving grace was that we were dry and the rivers were low before this," he said.

Inches of rain climb as storm churns across Northeast 10/01/10 [Last modified: Friday, October 1, 2010 10:31pm]
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