Storm Wreaks Havoc On East Coast

People are rescued by emergency workers in a boat on a flooded street in Lodi, N.J., Monday, April 16, 2007.
AP
Hundreds of people were evacuated from flooded homes Monday and refrigerators and trucks floated downstream as a fierce nor'easter drenched the Northeast with record rainfall, knocking out power to hundreds of thousands of homes and businesses.

Nine deaths were blamed on the huge storm.

"The huge storm is barely moving so the entire region will remain stormy for days," says CBS News meteorologist George Cullen.

Washouts, flooding, mudslides and fallen trees blocked roads. As waves pounded the coast, boats sank at their piers in Maine.

Nor'easters form when a low pressure system travels up the eastern seaboard sucking in cold Canadian air and warm moist air from the south, reports CBS News correspondent Nancy Cordes.

Suburbs north of New York City were among the hardest hit. Mamaroneck resident Nicholas Staropoli said a truck near his home "actually floated up on the riverbank."

One person died Sunday night in Woodbridge, N.J., when a family of four apparently drove past barricades blocking access to a flooded underpass, said police Lt. Thomas Gennarelli.

"Three of the occupants were able to get out, the fourth wasn't," Gennarelli said.

Residents in at least one New York City neighborhood paddled through streets in boats. The Saddle River overflowed its banks and put downtown Lodi, N.J., under several feet of water. And in suburban Mamaroneck, Nicholas Staropoli said a truck near his home "actually floated up on the riverbank."

Rain was still falling Monday morning in the New York area and New England after it began early Sunday along the East Coast from Florida to New England. By afternoon, it was light and intermittent.

"It was a long commute today, roads closed, flooding roads, rivers that weren't there before coming across the roads!" John, who commuted into New York City, told CBS News' Marc Adams.

Mamaroneck police and firefighters spent the night rescuing residents from 60 to 70 homes, said Town Administrator Stephen Altieri. More than two dozen National Guard members used trucks and Humvees to help evacuate low-lying sections of the town.

Firefighters plucked Kathleen Reale and her twin boys from their window in suburban Mamaroneck using a front-end-loader. Water reached up to her knees in her garage and basement and her family was evacuated to a shelter.

"I mean everything will be ruined," she said Monday. "Everything will be gone. It's unbelievable."

The shelter was filled to capacity Monday morning with about 300 people sleeping on cots. Mamaroneck, in Westchester County, called for voluntary evacuations of areas on Long Island Sound.

The rain totaled 8.21 inches in suburban White Plains from early Sunday to Monday morning, with 7.81 inches in New York City's Central Park, the National Weather Service said. The previous Central Park record for April 15 was just 1.8 inches, set in 1906. Eliot, Maine, got nearly 7 inches.

Snow fell in inland areas, including 17 inches in Vermont. Wind gusts to more than 80 mph toppled trees on highways in Maine.