Deadly Storm Churns Up Atlantic Coast

A car sits submerged on the north side of the Indian River Inlet Bridge in Dewey Beach, Del., on Friday, Nov. 13, 2009. In Delaware, tides washed out dunes along state Route 1 near the Indian River bridge, leaving several feet of water and three feet of sand on the road. (AP Photo/News Journal, Chuck Snyder)
AP Photo
Last updated at 3:47 p.m. EST

The remnants of Tropical Storm Ida pounded the East Coast on Friday, flooding coastal areas of New Jersey and New York and eroding beaches after slamming the Carolinas and Virginia.

The wind and waves were strong along the New Jersey shore, but the rain was not as heavy as predicted. The storm peaked in New Jersey by midmorning, said National Weather Service meteorologist Lee Robertson.

A low pressure system in New England won't allow the storm to move eastward, reports CBS "Early Show" Weather anchor Dave Price.

Lenora Boninfante, Cape May County spokeswoman, said all the county's barrier islands have experienced moderate to severe flooding. Several bridges and causeways were closed, and officials couldn't deliver meals to elderly shut-ins.

"It's a big nor'easter," said Joe Duska, a 66-year-old retiree who was photographing 15-foot waves that were smashing against an inlet rock jetty in Manasquan. "I don't think I've seen one this bad in quite a few years."

Duska said he drove up and down the central New Jersey coastline a few days ago and looked at beaches, knowing a storm was coming, hoping to compare them with what would be left after the storm.

"The beaches are smaller already," he said. "You can see it."

New Jersey's Department of Environmental Protection sent crews to assess how much erosion the storm has caused.

Farther north, on Long Beach Island, the angry surf was chewing up what was left of already narrow beaches and some protective sand dunes in Harvey Cedars, which is hoping to start a beach replenishment project soon after a yearslong battle with oceanfront property owners over access to their land.

Although officials suggested voluntary evacuations of low-lying areas late Thursday, there was no word of any mandatory evacuations.

Traffic was backed up over a mile on the Atlantic City Expressway because flooding closed other major highways into the gambling resort.

School buses and SUVs in Freeport, N.Y., on Long Island's southern shore, had to navigate streets with knee-high water.

Crews tried to stabilize a 570-foot barge carrying containers of chemicals that grounded off Virginia Beach after it broke free Thursday night from a tugboat that was towing it from Puerto Rico to New Jersey.

The barge was carrying 187 container units with cargo and 125 empty containers - 84 of the containers contain about 30 types of hazardous materials, the largest amount of which is chlorine, reports CBS affiliate WTKR.

Flood warnings remain in effect in parts of western Virginia, where the Danville River at South Boston was more than 7 feet above flood stage.

The Roanoke River crested nearly 4 feet above flood stage at Randolph and more than 3 feet above flood stage at Brookneal early Friday.

Dominion Power reported that more than 155,000 customers remained without electricity early Friday in Virginia and parts of North Carolina. All but about 10,000 of those customers were in southeast Virginia. Hundreds of roads were closed in Virginia.

The storm forced more than a dozen schools in southern New Jersey not to open or delay opening. Schools in southern Delaware, Worcester County, Md., and Accomack County, Va., also were closed.

Light rain was expected throughout the day in New Jersey and coastal flooding was possible at high tide Friday afternoon, Robertson said.

The storm has been blamed for six deaths across three states. The Coast Guard halted the search for three missing New Jersey fishermen whose boat sank in rough seas Wednesday night.

Officials in Norfolk, Va., were waiting to assess damage once flood waters recede after nearly 8 inches of rain drenched the coastal city and major port.

Health officials closed all tributaries to the Chesapeake Bay in Virginia to shellfish harvesting because of the potential of contamination from the nor'easter. The ban does not include crabs or fish.

Four motorists died in weather-related crashes in central and eastern Virginia. In New York City, a 36-year-old surfer died after getting caught in pounding surf churned up by the storm. In North Carolina, an elderly man standing in his yard was killed when a pine tree was snapped off by strong wind and fell on him.