ALSTEAD, N.H. (AP) – Residents assessed the damage brought by the weekend’s deadly floods across the Northeast, but the swollen rivers barely had a chance to recede Monday as more rain was forecast.
At least 10 people died in the heavy downpours and about a half-dozen people remained unaccounted for, including a couple whose house was washed away by a surge of water over Warren Lake dam in Alstead.
Floods tore up highways, tossed vehicles like toys, and knocked out electricity from North Carolina to Maine.
“I’ve seen pictures of earthquakes that don’t look as bad as this road,” Alstead resident Glen Frank, 54, said Monday of Route 123 in southwestern New Hampshire.
The most severe flooding in the state was in and around Keene, where some major roads were under as much as 4 to 6 feet of water, officials said. The city had no electricity and reverberated with the sounds of generators and pumps Monday when the governor visited.
Gov. John Lynch returned from a business trip to Europe on Sunday to take charge of relief efforts in New Hampshire. He declared a state of emergency and called in 500 National Guardsmen.
The National Weather Service warned that dams could fail or overflow if more rain falls in the next several days.
“At the moment, we are satisfied that they’re all in good shape,” New Hampshire emergency management Director Bruce Cheney said of the dams. “Our concern is that additional water may change that.”
George Butler said his sister, Sally Canfield, and her husband, Tim, were told to evacuate their home twice during the night, but stayed. Butler said when he walked through the woods later on Sunday to look, the house was gone.
“They probably didn’t know what hit them because the house is just gone. There’s not even a foundation,” Butler said.
The body of an unidentified man was recovered from a cornfield near a river in Langton and his death appeared to be flood-related, authorities said. And a kayaker on New Hampshire’s North Branch River was feared dead after he was washed away while clinging to a tree as rescue workers tried to reach him.
In Hoosick Falls, N.Y., the bodies of 6-year-old Michael Hackett, and his mother’s boyfriend, 39-year-old Robert Scanlon, were found Monday morning.
Officials said the boy slipped into the swift-moving Hoosic River on Sunday and Scanlon dove in to save him. Witnesses watched helplessly as the two bobbed in the rapids before being swept under a bridge and disappearing.
Two New Hampshire residents died after their car apparently drove off a washed-out bridge into flood waters, state police said.
Rain also was cited in traffic accidents over the weekend that killed three people in Maine, a woman in Pennsylvania and a toddler in New Jersey.
The weather service reported that more than 5 inches of rain drenched Wilmington, N.C., on Saturday. Allentown, Pa., received 10 inches between Friday and Saturday. Rain also totaled 10 inches in parts of Connecticut and 8 inches in parts of Maine.
As much as 9 to 10 inches were recorded in northwest New Jersey. The deluge broke a dry spell that had gripped the state since July, a state climatologist said.
Residents of roughly 115 homes along the Ramapo River were advised to stay away.