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10 Dead In East Coast Floods

Prolonged, heavy rain caused flooding from North Carolina to Maine over the weekend, forcing hundreds of people to evacuate, knocking out electricity, weakening dams and making roads impassable.

At least 10 people died in flooding or in rain-related crashes, including two young people killed in New Hampshire when a car apparently drove off a washed-out bridge into flood waters, officials said. At least one other person was seen being swept away in a swift-flowing river.

Gov. John Lynch returned from Europe to take charge of relief efforts in New Hampshire. He declared a state of emergency and called in 500 National Guard members for assistance.

"This is the worst damage they've seen from flooding in 25 years in New Hampshire," the governor said Sunday night.

CBS' Dan Ray out of Boston reports for The Early Show that roughly 1,000 people were evacuated from Southwest New Hampshire, but the floodwater there has already receded dramatically — as much as 30 or 40 percent in areas.

But with rain in the forecast for the next several days, the National Weather Service warned that dams could fail or overflow. A surge over Warren Lake dam in Alstead, N.H., sent a 4- or 5-foot wall of water downstream during the weekend, damaging at least a half dozen bridges and washing away several homes.

The two New Hampshire residents who died in the car were identified as Steven Day, of Unity, and Ashley Gate, of Claremont, both 20, state police said.

The body of an unidentified man was spotted from the air in a cornfield near a river in Langton and his death appeared to be flood-related, authorities said. And a kayaker on New Hampshire's North Branch River was feared dead after he was washed away while clinging to a tree as rescue workers tried to reach him.

In Hoosick Falls, N.Y., 6-year-old Michael Hackett slipped into the rain-swollen Hoosick River on Sunday. His mother's boyfriend, 39-year-old Robert Scanlon, dove in to save him, and witnesses watched helplessly as the two bobbed in the swift-moving rapids before being swept under a bridge and disappearing. Their bodies were found Monday morning.

In Pennsylvania, state police said Tiffany Wieand, 19, of Milford Township died Saturday when she tried to drive through a flooded roadway, while in New Jersey, 2-year-old Shane Belluardo of Tobyhanna, Pa., died from head injuries Saturday after his parents' car went out of control on a highway in Knowlton. Rain was also cited as a factor in traffic accidents over the weekend that killed three people in Maine.


Flood waters from the Ramapo River caused officials in New Jersey's Bergen County to evacuate about 30 residents Saturday night and early Sunday, Mayor John Szabo said. Rain also knocked out electricity to as many as 6,000 customers across the state. In Vermont, more than 200 people, including residents of a Brattleboro senior citizen home, were evacuated Saturday night.

The National Weather Service reported that more than 5 inches of rain fell in Wilmington, N.C., on Saturday. North Carolina's Brunswick and Pender counties saw between 7 and 10 inches of rain in four days. Allentown, Pa., received 10 inches between Friday and Saturday. Rainfall also totaled 10 inches in parts of Connecticut and 8 inches in parts of Maine.

"They didn't predict this much rain," said Joan Kinney, mayor of Boiling Spring Lakes, N.C., which unofficially measured more than 15 inches. "It took us all by surprise." Rivers and creeks in North Carolina were already high from Hurricane Ophelia last month. The state's Department of Transportation reported 41 roads closed.

Perhaps the worst-hit area, though, is the southwestern area of New Hampshire, near Vermont, which hasn't seen flooding like this weekend's in a quarter of a century, Ray reports.

Some major roads in and around Keene, N.H., were under as much as 4 to 6 feet of water, fire officials said. The city had no electricity and was awash in the sounds of generators and pumps Monday when the governor visited.

"It's nice to see the support and all the help," said Darcey Zecha, whom Lynch met outside her mother's home. About 500 people were evacuated, and about 150 were staying at a shelter in a recreation center Sunday.

In Hinsdale, southwest of Keene, 19-year-old Sean Weeks was awakened by firefighters early Sunday and warned to leave. Shortly afterward, a house across the street collapsed into the raging water, but no one was in it at the time.

"I looked out my window and all I could see - straight down - was water, right up against the building," Weeks said. "I saw all this New Orleans stuff happening and I was thinking, `This can't happen to me,' then bada-bing, bada-boom, it just happened."

In Alstead, north of Keene, several residents were unaccounted-for, and firefighters safely retrieved three people from a home that appeared ready to be washed away.

Capt. Don Martin had to make the trip through the rising and rushing water three times, each time lending his rescue belt to one of the residents. He held onto a rope loop and signaled his fellow firefighters 200 feet away to start pulling.

"I fell into one ditch that had to be at least 4 feet deep," Martin said.