Storm Wreaks Havoc in Northeast

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Storm Wreaks Havoc in Northeast

NEW YORK -- Record rainfall and brutal wind brought flooding, downed trees and power outages to much of the Northeast, causing state of emergencies to be declared for New Jersey, West Virginia and New Hampshire, along with flood watches and advisories to be in effect for New York, Bloomberg News reported.

The storm barreled in from the Midwest, bringing with it the worst flooding seen in the region since Tropical Storm Floyd landed in September 1999, the National Weather Service reported. New York saw the second wettest day on record on Sunday with 7.57 inches of rain in Central Park, according to Joe Pollina, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Upton, N.Y. The record, 8.28 inches, was set on Sept. 23, 1882.

In Westchester County, N.Y., energy company Consolidated Edison Inc. began cutting gas and electric service to 1,500 residential and business customers where flooding threatened equipment in basements. On Long Island, voluntary evacuations were issued in areas such as Mamaroneck and Bayville.

On Mamaroneck Avenue, business owners were pumping water from buildings that had lost power, The Journal News reported. Water mains flooded the area even further. Vincent Marconi, a 60-year-old Rye, N.Y., resident and owner of Tri-City Auto Parts, was using a broom to push away of some of the muddy water that came inside his store when flood waters broke the plate-glass window on the bottom floor.

"Anything that's below 50 inches will be a loss," he told the paper, estimating damages at $75,000, with no flood insurance coverage to offer assistance. "I'm devastated. I have seven employees I have to continue to pay, and the lost product is tremendous." In 28 years of business, he said, this was the worst flooding he's seen.

Airports in New York and the surrounding areas were beginning to recover yesterday after a night of hard rain and 500 cancelled flights. "Everything is moving," Pasquale DiFulco, a spokesman for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, told Bloomberg News.

Upstate New York received snow, but it was almost business as usual for one convenience chain in the area. Fran Duskiewicz, senior executive vice president of Canastota, N.Y.-based Nice N Easy Grocery Shoppes, told CSNews Online that plows had to be put back on trucks, but that the conditions were not nearly as bad as those seen toward the metropolitan New York area and Long Island.

In Massachusetts, the 111th Boston Marathon was scheduled for yesterday. The Boston Athletic Association announced the race would continue as planned despite the weather, but warned participants of hypothermia, as the morning wind-chill factor was predicted to be 25 degrees Fahrenheit, the report stated. In addition, Boston Red Sox games might be cancelled as well as Patriot's Day activities, leaving crowds and tourism at home, resulting in the loss of potentially $15 million, the Greater Boston Convention and Visitors Bureau stated.

"It would be a huge hit, because once that money is lost, it can't be replaced," said Greater Boston Convention and Visitors Bureau CEO Pat Moscaritolo. "It's like an airline seat that doesn't get sold. Once the plane takes off, that revenue is lost forever."

One Boston-area retailer, VERC Enterprises, operator of 20 convenience stores and two car washes headquartered in Duxbury, Mass., told CSNews Online Monday afternoon that three of its 22 locations were without power, and were not expected to get electricity back for four to six hours. "This is a school vacation week and the marathon is on Monday. Many people are off the roads, so the overall effect is minimal," he said.

In New Hampshire, more than 92,000 homes and business lost power due to the storm. Roads were closed and a landslide blocked Route 101 in both directions near the Wilton-Milford town line, The Associated Press reported.

State Governor John Lynch enlisted 200 members of the National Guard to assist communities in evacuations, dam repairs and traffic direction. "There are probably a couple hundred roads that either are closed, flooding or washed out," Lynch told the AP. "People should travel with a great deal of caution."

At Hampton Beach, high winds tore off boards covering the windows of an oceanfront convenience store, breaking windows and blowing merchandise into the street.

"We went to look, but the wind was so strong that you couldn't walk. The wind just turned you back," said Linda Pepin of Bristol, Conn., who owns a condominium less than 50 feet from the shore. She and her husband were checking on their property on their way back from a trip to Canada, the AP reported.

The wet weather is not expected to let up soon. An inch of rain was predicted yesterday, with precipitation through Wednesday, although not as heavy as before, National Weather Service's Pollina told Bloomberg News.