Storm leaves hundreds of thousands of families in northeast U.S. in dark

15:44, March 14, 2010      

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Powerful winds are ripping through northeast U.S. Saturday with winds gusting over 80 km per hour, and as much as 12 cm of rain falling across parts of the region.

According to local media reports, strong winds and heavy rain have knocked out power to more than 450,000 customers, diverting international flights, killing and injuring people.

A flood watch is in effect for most of the area through Sunday evening, according to media reports. Rainfall will be heavy at times through Saturday night before eventually tapering off early Sunday morning. A high wind warning is in effect until 1 a.m. Sunday morning.

The New York Police Department is cited as saying they have added extra 9-1-1 operators to handle the massive number of calls they are receiving about weather-related damage.

In New Jersey, which neighbors New York, flood warnings were issued for several rivers in northern Jersey City, where minor to moderate flooding was expected Saturday night and Sunday.

Winds have knocked down many trees and power lines, causing power outages across the state.

According to U.S. radio station, 1010wins, the storm is blamed for the deaths of two people in Teaneck, New Jersey, where a state of emergency has been declared. Two people were crushed by a falling tree limb as they were walking.

The hardest-hit area was southern Jersey, where Public Service Electric & Gas reported 136,000 customers without power.

Rail service was suspended on a number of lines as well.

In Connecticut state, the heavy rains and high winds expected throughout the weekend in southern New England are hitting the area hard.

Police in Darien, Connecticut, reported that more than 50 trees had fallen in town, taking down power lines and closing roads Saturday afternoon. Tens of thousands of customers were without power late Saturday.

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