Hurricane Irene leaves at least 25 dead, millions without power
Hurricane Irene pummeled communities up and down the east coast this weekend, and although its strength was below original predictions, officials say it was responsible for at least 25 deaths across nine states. CNN reports about 3 million people were without power as of Monday morning, and residents as far north as Vermont were grappling with severe flooding.
Despite the emergency in the Green Mountain State, where about 260 roads continue to be affected by the flooding, for many U.S. residents life was returning to normal by Monday morning. Subway service was resumed in New York City after having been suspended, and the three major airports opened up after canceling flights over the weekend.
Although original forecasts painted strong winds and storm surges as the main threats, it is the inland flooding that has proven to be the most damaging. According to the news provider, seven families in Plattsville, New York, were still stranded on Monday after flood waters destroyed bridges surrounding where they were staying in the Catskills.
"The impacts of this storm will be felt for some time, and the recovery effort will last for weeks or longer," President Barack Obama said Sunday.
While the damage estimates may creep toward $1 billion, it could have been a lot worse. Evacuations were ordered all along the Atlantic coast, and for residents in East Haven, Connecticut, where at least 25 homes were severely damaged, it may have meant the difference between life and death.
"Heeding that order saved lives," East Haven Mayor April Capone told the Hartford Courant. "People didn't want to leave on Saturday. I understand that. And I didn't give the order lightly."