Ivan's storms still batter eastern states as death toll rises above 110

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The Independent US

The cruelty of Ivan, the hurricane that slammed into Alabama and the Florida panhandle three days ago, was still not quite exhausted yesterday as the storm's remnants battered areas of the eastern United States as far north as Washington DC, Virginia and Ohio with still ferocious winds and frequent tornadoes.

The cruelty of Ivan, the hurricane that slammed into Alabama and the Florida panhandle three days ago, was still not quite exhausted yesterday as the storm's remnants battered areas of the eastern United States as far north as Washington DC, Virginia and Ohio with still ferocious winds and frequent tornadoes.

Forecast finally to slide off the New England coast and back into the Atlantic yesterday evening, Ivan leaves behind it a wide runway of destruction and misery that has made it the deadliest storm to hit the US in five years. In some areas, the clean-up is likely to take several weeks.

Ivan, which maintained hurricane strength for a record 10 days over the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico before finally being downgraded after it crossed the Alabama shoreline, left 40 people dead in the US, officials confirmed. Before touching American soil, it killed 75 people in the Caribbean.

While the most dramatic damage was sustained in the coastal areas of Alabama and the panhandle, states further north were also raked by the storm's winds, tornadoes and heavy rainfall. Some areas of North Carolina suffered downpours of 9ins (228mm) an hour on Friday night. "It's messed up here," said Ken Shafer in Henderson County in the west of the state. "I bet we have 2,000 trees down."

The weather system claimed a further six lives in North Carolina in flooding and landslides, killed a Tennessee police officer, and caused considerable chaos in the Virginia and Maryland outlands of Washington DC late on Friday as the tornadoes grounded flights, damaged homes and caused power cuts.

A state of emergency was declared in Virginia. Even parts of Ohio and Pennsylvania felt the system's strength. Hundreds of thousands remained without power last night in several states.

For Florida, Ivan was the third of a triple-punch of hurricanes, after its predecessors, Charley and Francis, ravaged large swaths of the south of the state early in the season. The economic impact will be severe, with some officials noting that tourist bookings to the state will be badly dented.

Florida residents were hoping that Ivan would be the last of this year's hurricanes; but in the Atlantic, Tropical Storm Jeanne churned on a track towards landfall next week in the south-eastern US - and, possibly, Florida.

The Atlantic hurricane season lasts until November.

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