No Rest From The Rain

People wait at a taxi stand in a driving rain outside Pennsylvania Station in New York on Wednesday, Oct. 12, 2005. Gusty winds and heavy rain hit the city as a disturbance off the Northeast coast brought moist air inland. (AP Photo/Peter Morgan) AP

Hundreds of homes have been lost, ten people are dead and damage could be in the tens of millions of dollars in hard-hit New Hampshire alone. It is the worst flooding to hit some parts of the northeast in decades, reports CBS News correspondent Kelly Cobiella.

The National Weather Service canceled a flood watch for the state, but said the already saturated area could see three to six inches of additional rain in the next few days.

Devastation has already struck. When Jack Cochrane evacuated his home in Alstead, N.H., he left with a week's worth of clothes, his cell phone and a flashlight.

But from the building's foundation to the floppy disk stored with his poems —nothing remains of Cochrane's house. All of it was swept away when the Cold River flooded over the weekend.

"I'm just at a loss in restarting — there's not much I can do," he said.

As steady rain continued across much of New England and the Northeast early Thursday, forecasters expected more wet weather for the region and warned that new flooding might cause more damage.

In northern New Jersey, raging rivers and ineffective dams have authorities imploring residents to evacuate.

It's not clear yet how many people will be asked to leave, but officials said the worst is yet to come, reports CBS News correspondent Michelle Miller.

Traditionally the rivers reach their peak twelve or more hours after the rain stops, so residents throughout the region will have to wait for the skies to clear and hope for the best.

But swollen rivers are only part of the problem. Flooded streets and roadways are causing heavy delays, resulting in a seemingly endless commute for working residents of the tri-state area. But Miller reports that residents don't have much choice but to wait out the rain — forecasters say this is the seventh straight day of rainfall in northern New Jersey, and it could continue through the weekend.

Back in southwestern New Hampshire, officials in some towns went door-to-door to give residents instructions in case they need to get out quickly.

Alstead, a town of 2,000 people several miles from the Vermont state line, suffered the most damage from the weekend flooding. At least 12 homes were washed away.

Sen. Judd Gregg, R-N.H., who toured flood-damaged areas Wednesday, said the state hoped to get $5 million soon for such items as emergency housing, debris removal and restoration of communications, with more federal aid to follow.

Gov. John Lynch said it was difficult to estimate the damage caused to property, bridges and roadways by the flooding, but "we're talking I believe tens of millions of dollars, clearly."

Rivers and streams are still full and another two to four inches could fall by the end of the day tomorrow.

In New York City, the storm dropped 4.2 inches of rain in Central Park on Wednesday, breaking the previous record for Oct. 12, which was 3.4 inches in 1983. More rain was expected through Thursday, the weather service said.

At LaGuardia Airport, 35 flights were canceled due to the steady downpour, said Alan Hicks, a spokesman for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

Flooding was expected to worsen in New Jersey, where heavy rain also snarled traffic and delayed flights.

"Everything is so saturated that the water has no place to go," said Roy Miller, a meteorologist with the weather service's Mount Holly office.

New Jersey remained under a flood watch, and streams and rivers in several areas were overflowing by midday.

Flooding was reported in many counties, and arriving flights at Newark Liberty International Airport were delayed by as much as five hours because of rain.

By midnight Wednesday, residents of at least two communities — Westwood in Bergen County and Bound Brook in Somerset County — were evacuated from their homes due to rising waters. It was not clear how many people were affected.

Business districts in Hackensack and Princeton also saw flooding, while high water in Jersey City caused delays approaching the Holland Tunnel.

In New Hampshire, logs were pulled away from two dams to reduce water levels, said James Gallagher, chief water resources engineer for the state dam bureau.

Earlier Wednesday, National Guard members helped telephone and electric crews get to homes cut off from most roads by the storm.

Officials said power had been restored to more than two-thirds of the 1,500 area homes and businesses that lost service.
  • Gina Pace

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