1. Archive

Storm pounds Northeast, kills 3

As Hurricane Jeanne churned north Tuesday, the storm's remnants dumped torrential rain and spawned tornadoes and high wind. Three deaths were blamed on the storms and damage was widespread.

The storm hit Virginia especially hard, dumping a foot of rain and drowning a woman when she was swept from her mobile home. Flooding closed more than 200 roads in several counties. In Roanoke, rescuers ushered to safety 11 mill workers who became trapped by the Roanoke River.

The National Weather Service was investigating a suspected tornado in Pittsylvania County, Va. "When I heard the train noise, I tried to get in the closet," said Joe McDaniel, whose mobile home was destroyed. "Five seconds later, I'm in a pile of rubble."

In western Maryland, almost a half-foot of rain fell. Emergency workers rescued several people from vehicles stranded by high water, and turned around a loaded Frederick County school bus trapped by an eroding roadway.

The storms also spawned a tornado near New Castle County Airport in Delaware, the National Weather Service said. "It is a mess. Storms like this are not supposed to happen in Delaware," said Cpl. Trinidad Navarro, a county police spokesman. Five cargo planes assigned to the Delaware Air National Guard were damaged, said Maj. Len Gratteri, Guard spokesman. One was tipped onto its wing.

Nine tornadoes have touched down in North Carolina since Monday, with most causing only minor damage, said Gov. Mike Easley. In South Carolina, a tornado killed one man; another died after his car ran off a rain-slicked highway.

The storm also spawned a tornado in southern New Jersey, damaging several buildings but causing no injuries, the weather service said. In the Philadelphia area, flooded highways were closed, flights were canceled and some mass transit was suspended.

Commuters stuck in a train surrounded by water had to be evacuated. And along the Schuylkill River, rising water washed a pedestrian under a bus. The injuries did not appear serious, officials said.

Around Florida, more than 5,300 people were staying in shelters, almost 1.3-million homes and businesses were without power, and at least one insurance company was seeking state help because it was overwhelmed with claims.

The emotional toll mounted, too. Gov. Jeb Bush said domestic violence reports were spiking in areas hit by the four hurricanes in the past six weeks. "Nerves are frayed and frustration levels run high," he said.

President Bush was making his fourth after-hurricane visit to Florida today to tour a citrus grove in Lake Wales.

Combined, Hurricanes Charley, Frances, Ivan and Jeanne have damaged more than one of every five Florida homes.

VIRGINIA: Construction worker Eddie Reves, left in boat, and dump truck driver Jeramiah Bishop celebrate as they are rescued after the two were stranded in floodwaters while working at a construction site Tuesday in Roanoke, Va. Rescuers in Roanoke also ushered to safety 11 mill workers who became trapped by the Roanoke River.