World

Death toll rises to 9 in U.S. after Isaias slams East Coast

At least nine people, including a five-year-old girl with autism, were killed as tropical storm Isaias battered the U.S. East Coast with rain and fierce winds after making landfall as a hurricane in North Carolina.

Isaias toggled between hurricane and tropical storm strength as it churned toward East Coast

Cynthia Cooper on Wednesday looks for personal items for a family member whose home was destroyed after a tornado spawned by Hurricane Isaias destroyed a rural mobile home neighbourhood near Windsor, N.C., the day before. (Robert Willett/The News & Observer/The Associated Press)

At least nine people, including a five-year-old girl with autism, were killed as tropical storm Isaias battered the U.S. East Coast with rain and fierce winds after making landfall as a hurricane in North Carolina. Millions were without power on Wednesday after felled trees downed power lines.

The sound of generators and chainsaws punctuated the sunrise in New Jersey, where more than one million homes and businesses were without electricity. NJ Transit train service remained suspended while crews cleared about 150 trees and repair signals and overhead wires.

Regional rail service was also suspended in Philadelphia after Isaias raised the Schuylkill River and sent an unsecured construction barge into a bridge. Inspectors were checking for damage. Interstate 676, which crosses the bridge, was also closed in both directions.

Patrick Foye, chairman of New York's Metropolitan Transportation Authority, said more than 2,000 trees fell across the system's train and bus network.

"This storm caused severe damage," Foye said Wednesday. "Not since Superstorm Sandy has our system experienced this type of wind."

A New York City worker climbs on a tree to look at the damage it has caused to a house and car during the cleanup of tropical storm Isaias in the Astoria neighbourhood of Queens, N.Y., on Wednesday. (Brendan McDermid/Reuters)

Storm's aftermath

Two people died when Isaias spun off a tornado that struck a North Carolina mobile home park. Another person died in Pennsylvania when their vehicle was overtaken by water and swept downstream.

The five-year-old girl had gone missing from her Philadelphia-area home during the height of the storm Tuesday and was found dead Wednesday. Authorities said they believed she was swept away by floodwaters in the creek behind her house.

Three others were killed by falling trees toppled by the storm in Maryland, Connecticut and New York City, and a eighth person died in Delaware when a tree branch fell on them, authorities said. A woman was found dead inside a New Hampshire house Tuesday evening.

Isaias sustained top winds of up to 105 km/h more than 18 hours after coming ashore, but it was down to 64 km/h max winds as of early Wednesday, according to the National Hurricane Center.

Isaias toggled between hurricane and tropical storm strength as it churned toward the East Coast. Fuelled by warm ocean waters, the storm got a late burst of strength as a rejuvenated hurricane with top sustained winds of 136 km/h before coming ashore late Monday near Ocean Isle Beach, N.C. Its tropical storm status was sustained but weakened as it headed north into Canada on Tuesday night.

Before making landfall late Monday, Isaias killed two people in the Caribbean and battered the Bahamas before brushing past Florida.

Tornadoes were confirmed by the National Weather Service in Virginia, Maryland, Delaware and New Jersey. Power outages also spread as trees fell, with more than 2.7 million customers losing electricity across multiple states as of Wednesday morning, according to PowerOutage.US, which tracks utility reports. New York City's power utility said it saw more outages from Isaias than from any storm except Superstorm Sandy in 2012.

Power lines criss-cross a street in Guttenberg, N.J., after tropical storm Isaias passed through on Tuesday. Fallen trees and debris littered streets in the area, leaving thousands of people without power and disrupting subway service. ( Munoz Alvarez/Getty Images)

In Doylestown, Pa., officials said four children were treated for minor injuries after high winds partially tore the roof off a daycare centre. Also in the Philadelphia suburbs, rescue workers in Delaware County were searching for a young person who fell or jumped into the fast-moving water of a swollen creek, said Timothy Boyce, the county emergency services director.

Some of the worst damage seemed to be east and north of where the hurricane's eye struck land in North Carolina.

"Fortunately, this storm was fast-moving and has already left our state," Gov. Roy Cooper said Tuesday.

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

now