Eastern US Still Recovering from Irene

Posted September 1st, 2011 at 1:06 am (UTC-5)
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Crews in several eastern U.S. states are trying to restore power to hundreds of thousands of people four days after Hurricane Irene ravaged the area.

In Vermont, emergency workers are airlifting food and water to thousands of residents stranded after floodwaters washed over roads and bridges, isolating a number of communities in the state’s worst floods in nearly a century.

Irene has been blamed for at least 43 deaths in the continental U.S. and five deaths in the Caribbean. President Barack Obama on Wednesday signed disaster declarations for the states of North Carolina and New York. He is scheduled to visit New Jersey on Sunday to view some of the damage from the hurricane.

On Wednesday, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, Federal Emergency Management Agency head Craig Fugate, and FEMA deputy head Rich Serino were in New York and New Jersey to survey the damage and discuss federal response efforts.

Meanwhile, The National Hurricane Center said late Wednesday that Tropical Storm Katia has become the second Atlantic hurricane of the season. It says Katia could become a major hurricane in the coming days, but that it is too early to predict what course the storm will take.

The beginning of September is normally the peak of the hurricane season. Experts predict an active 2011 hurricane season with eight to 10 hurricanes possible, which would be slightly more than normal.