More storm woes for US East Coast

The United States East Coast’s recovery from Isabel was dealt a setback by another round of storms that caused renewed flooding, flattened trees that had withstood the hurricane and knocked out power to thousands of customers, some for the second time.

Severe storms, including at least one tornado, buffeted the area around Richmond with winds up to 160 kph, the weather

service said.

“Isabel was gravy compared to this guy,” Richmond resident James Whitaker said. “We went down and got in the closet downstairs and stayed in it.”

A mobile home about 65km west of Richmond was shredded after it was tossed about 7,5m.

No serious injuries were reported from the twister, part of a weather system that also caused damage in Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Isabel was blamed for at least 38 deaths, 23 of them in Virginia.

An additional 40 000 customers lost power in Virginia on Tuesday, some for the second time since Isabel struck last week.
On Tuesday evening, more than 500 000 customers in Virginia and North Carolina still were without power.

“I just restocked my refrigerator last night. This is just so unreal,” said Renee Knight, whose Richmond neighborhood lost power during Isabel for about 20 hours.

Before the storms arrived, Virginia’s main utility, Dominion Virginia Power, said it had restored electricity to two-thirds of the 1,8-million customers who lost service during Isabel.

Weary of living without electricity for five days, Joy Melvin had taken her 20-month-old daughter and moved in with a friend, Keisha Gilchrist, in a section of Richmond that was little affected by the hurricane.

On Tuesday, a tree slammed on to the roof above the bedroom where they slept.

“We ran from upstairs,” Melvin said. “Thank God for her [Gilchrist] yelling.”

The storms dumped about 10cm of rain in parts of Maryland, where some of the same roads flooded by Isabel were under water again, and some schools closed.

Baltimore-area power outages had been reduced to about 133 000 customers since Isabel but went up again by about 50 000, said Rob Gould, spokesman for the Baltimore-area utility BGE.

The storms caused no new damage in North Carolina, where Isabel struck land and where 46 800 customers were still waiting for electricity.

To the north, Tuesday’s storm blacked out about 20 000 customers in southern New Jersey and about 34 000 in Pennsylvania. Tornadoes were spotted in two New Jersey counties.—Sapa-AP

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