Hurricane Irene aftermath: Storm passes, but flood, power threats remain
NEW YORK (AP) — The storm that had been Hurricane Irene crossed into Canada overnight but wasn't yet through with the U.S., where flood waters threatened Vermont towns and New Yorkers who returned to work had to make do with a slowly reopening transit system.
The storm left millions without power across much of the Eastern Seaboard, left at least two dozen dead and forced airlines to cancel about 9,000 flights. It never became the big-city nightmare forecasters and public officials had warned about, but it still had the ability to surprise.
Many of the worst effects arose from rains that fell inland, not the highly anticipated storm surge along the coasts. Residents of Pennsylvania and New Jersey nervously watched waters rise as hours' worth of rain funneled into rivers and creeks. Normally narrow ribbons of water turned into raging torrents in Vermont and upstate New York late Sunday, tumbling with tree limbs, cars and parts of bridges.
"This is not over," President Barack Obama said from the Rose Garden.
Hundreds of Vermonters were told to leave their homes after Irene dumped several inches of rain on the landlocked state. Video posted on Facebook showed a 141-year-old covered bridge in Rockingham swept away by the roiling, muddy Williams River. In another video, an empty car somersaulted down a river in Bennington.
"It's pretty fierce. I've never seen anything like it," said Michelle Guevin, who spoke from a Brattleboro restaurant after leaving her home in nearby Newfane. She said the fast-moving Rock River was washing out the road to her house.
Green Mountain Power decided against flooding Montpelier, the capital, to save the earthen Marshfield Dam, about 20 miles up the Winooski River to the northeast. Water levels had stabilized Monday morning but engineers were continuing to monitor the situation, said spokeswoman Dorothy Schnure.
Residents of 350 households were asked to leave as a precaution.
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