East Coast Tries to Recover From Irene

Eastern US Tries to Recover From Irene
September 1st, 2011

Emergency crews in the eastern U.S. continue to help residents recover from a storm that ravaged the region, as floodwaters recede after rising to record levels.

Flooding devastated areas in the states of Vermont, Connecticut, New York and New Jersey after Hurricane Irene brought high winds and heavy rains to the eastern U.S. Irene hit North Carolina Saturday with 120 kilometer per hour winds, before moving up the East Coast and weakening.

Hundreds of thousands of people in the region are still without power, and many schools remain closed. Roads in the area are under repair.

In Vermont, emergency workers have airlifted food and water to thousands of residents stranded after floodwaters washed out roads and bridges, isolating some communities in the state's worst floods in nearly a century.

Irene is blamed for at least 45 deaths in the U.S. and five in the Caribbean, and has caused billions of dollars of damage. U.S. President Barack Obama signed disaster declarations for New York, New Jersey and North Carolina, making federal funding available for recovery efforts.

Mr. Obama is scheduled to visit the state of New Jersey on Sunday to view wind and flood damage from Irene.

Meanwhile, forecasters are monitoring Hurricane Katia in the Atlantic, which is moving northwest with maximum sustained winds of 120 kilometers per hour.

Katia is a Category One hurricane on the five-point scale of hurricane intensity, centered about 1,700 kilometers east of the Leeward Islands. The National Hurricane Center says Katia could become a major hurricane by Saturday.

It is the second Atlantic hurricane of the season.

The National Hurricane Center is also watching a storm moving northwest through the Gulf of Mexico, saying it could become a tropical cyclone in the next two days. It says U.S. Gulf Coast states should monitor the storm, which could produce rains that bring relief to drought-stricken Texas.

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

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