Powerful storm pounds eastern US

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The Independent US

People were evacuated from flooded homes yesterday and refrigerators and trucks floated downstream as a fierce storm drenched the U.S. Northeast with record rainfall. It was blamed for eight deaths across the US.

More than 720,000 homes and businesses had lost power from North Carolina to Maine.

Flights were delayed at the New York area's three major airports, after airlines canceled some 600 flights on Sunday as wind gusted to 48 mph, according to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. Dozens more flights were canceled in Philadelphia, Boston and elsewhere in New England.

Flooding caused cancellations and delays for Amtrak passengers in the busy corridor between Washington and Boston.

Rain was still falling yesterday morning in the New York area and New England after it began early on Sunday along the East Coast from Florida to New England.

The rain totaled 7.81 inches in New York's Central Park from early Sunday to yesterday morning, the National Weather Service said. The previous record in the park for April 15 was just 1.8 inches, set in 1906.

Snow fell in inland areas, including 17 inches in Vermont.

Hundreds of people were evacuated from their homes in southern West Virginia as crews worked to pump water from a private lake to keep an unstable earthen dam from collapsing.

In Union City, New Jersey, a large section of a 50-feet high stone wall collapsed onto a busy road during the night, and rescue workers used heavy machinery and dogs to see if any cars had been buried.

One person was killed by a tornado in South Carolina, and two died in car accidents - one in upstate New York and one in Connecticut. The storm rattled the Gulf states Friday and Saturday with violent thunderstorms after taking Texas with at least two tornadoes, and it was blamed for five deaths in Texas and Kansas.