US Northeast Communities Cut Off by Floods, Millions Still Without Power

Posted August 30th, 2011 at 10:00 am (UTC-5)
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Entire communities in the U.S. Northeast are still cut off by floodwaters Tuesday, while millions of people remain without power across the East Coast in the aftermath of Hurricane Irene.

Inland areas in the states of Vermont and New York suffered the worst impacts of the storm, with streams and rivers bursting their banks and producing torrents of water that swept away trees, vehicles and bridges and submerged several towns.

The confirmed death toll from the storm rose to at least 38 in 11 states. Irene first hit the U.S. mainland on Friday, making landfall in North Carolina before moving up the East Coast and weakening into a tropical storm as it reached the country's northeast. The storm crossed over eastern Canada Monday, leaving one person missing in Quebec province after floodwaters swept away his car.

Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin said the state's worst flooding in a century has destroyed crops and damaged homes and businesses.

Emergency workers in the region were using boats to rescue people trapped in their homes. Utility companies said it will take days to restore electricity to many of the estimated 5 million East Coast homes and businesses whose power remained cut off on Monday.

Top Obama administration officials were due to visit some of the worst-hit states on Tuesday.

President Barack Obama has directed the Federal Emergency Management Agency and other government agencies to do “everything in their power” to help those affected by the hurricane.

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack will travel to North Carolina and Virginia. The head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Craig Fugate, will visit Vermont.