Last updated at: (Beijing Time) Monday, September 22, 2003

Hurricane leaves two dozen dead, many without power in US

Two dozen people were killed during a hurricane that swept across the US East Coast Thursday and Friday and left tens of thousands without power as of Saturday morning.


Two dozen people were killed during a hurricane that swept across the US East Coast Thursday and Friday and left tens of thousands without power as of Saturday morning.

Hurricane Isabel was blamed for the death of 24 people, most involving falling trees and traffic accidents. In Virginia, six people were killed in storm-related road accidents, five by falling tree limbs, two were drowned and two by carbon monoxide poisoning from a generator.

Deaths were also reported in North Carolina, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island.

Nearly 1 million people in Northern Virginia were left without reliable drinking water, floodwater in the downtown market of Annapolis, Maryland, was knee-deep, and more than 300 trees were blown down in the nation's capital, Washington, D.C.

Isabel, which came ashore Thursday with torrential rains and sustained winds of 160 km per hour, lost power quickly as it moved inland. It weakened into a tropical storm before reaching the Washington area Thursday night, and became a tropical depression with less rainfall and flooding than was forecast and sustained winds of about 55 km per hour as it swept across Ohio toward Lake Erie on Friday.

Power was gradually restored, but about a quarter of a million people in North Carolina were still without electricity early Saturday, where about 690,000 homes and businesses lost power when the storm hit the Outer Banks on Thursday and forced some 11,000 people to stay in shelters.

Nearly 1.3 million customers of Dominion Virginia Power remained without power by late Friday evening, and Virginia Governor Mark R. Warner termed the hurricane probably the worst storm in the state in a generation.

Some 630 National Guard troops in Maryland were mobilized on active duty and 540,000 sandbags were prepared, according to Governor Robert Ehrlich. Over 1 million customers lost power, and more than 1,800 people took refuge in shelters, officials said.

In New Jersey, Governor James E. McGreevey lifted the state of emergency Friday night except Atlantic County, and about 90,000 customers across the state were still without power by Friday night.

While power was almost all restored by midday Friday for some 1.1 million customers around New York city who lost power on Thursday, utility officials in Pennsylvania said it may take several days to restore power to the 490,000 customers still in the dark.

In Washington and its Virginia and Maryland suburbs, streets were littered with hundreds of downed trees and more branches, some roads were blocked by yellow police ribbons because of uprooted trees, and workers were seen busy removing trees that had fallen on cars and houses.

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