Belfast Telegraph

Friday 28 November 2014

Flooding fears left in Irene's wake

Commuters exit the Wall Street subway station in New York as public transport services resumed after Hurricane Irene (AP)
Commuters exit the Wall Street subway station in New York as public transport services resumed after Hurricane Irene (AP)
National Grid crews work to restore power near Providence College in Rhode Island after Hurricane Irene (AP)
Residents of Annapolis look at downed power lines after Hurricane Irene (AP)

Life in the New York area is returning to normal after Hurricane Irene left town and headed into Canada, leaving destruction in its wake.

John F Kennedy and Newark international airports opened to arriving flights, with departing flights expected to start later. LaGuardia Airport opened to both arriving and departing flights. Flight tracking service FlightAware says there were nearly 1,500 cancelled flights on Monday, adding to nearly 12,000 grounded at the weekend. That tops record cancellations seen with a pair of massive snowstorms this winter.

The metropolitan area's transit system, shut down because of weather for the first time in its history, was taking many hours to get back on line. Limited bus service began on Sunday and New York subway service was partially restored at 6am on Monday. Passengers were warned to expect long queues and long waits.

Commuter rail service to Long Island and New Jersey was being partially restored, but train service to northern suburbs was suspended because of flooding and mudslides.

Some of New York's yellow cabs were up to their wheel wells in water, and water rushed over a marina near the New York Mercantile Exchange, where gold and oil are traded. But the New York flooding was not extensive from Irene, whose eye passed over Coney Island and Central Park.

The New York Stock Exchange said it would be open for business on Monday, and the September 11 memorial at the World Trade Centre site didn't lose a single tree.

The storm left millions without power across much of the eastern seaboard, left at least 25 dead and forced airlines to cancel about 9,000 flights.

Vermont's governor said the state was enduring its worst flooding in about a century. Peter Shumlin said state officials had been preparing for the worst, and in some parts of the state the worst happened.

Mr Shumlin said officials had moved from crisis management to assessing the damage. He says he is planning to tour the state today in a National Guard helicopter.

Tropical Storm Irene left almost 50,000 Vermont customers without power. Hundreds of roads are closed and the state lost at least three historic covered bridges. Some communities also are cut off. Officials at one point thought they might have to flood the state capital, Montpelier, to relieve pressure on a dam, but by Monday morning that threat had abated.

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