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Nor'easter along U.S. East Coast leaves widespread outages

People along the Northeast coast braced for more flooding during high tides Saturday even as the powerful nor'easter storm that inundated roads, snapped trees and knocked out power to more than two million homes and businesses moved hundreds of kilometres out to sea.

People along the Northeast coast brace for more flooding Saturday even as storm moves offshore

A man walks near the coastline Friday in Newburyport, Mass., as a powerful nor'easter pounds the U.S. East Coast, packing heavy rain, intermittent snow and strong winds. (Elise Amendola/Associated Press)

People along the Northeast coast braced for more flooding during high tides Saturday even as the powerful nor'easter storm that inundated roads, snapped trees and knocked out power to more than two million homes and businesses moved hundreds of kilometres out to sea.

Areas from Maryland to Maine remained under flood warnings. Officials in eastern Massachusetts, where dozens of people were rescued from high waters overnight, warned of another round of flooding during high tides expected around noon.

"The primary remaining hazard is all the floodwater, including the effects of the high tide with the continued onshore flow of the wind," said Patrick Burke, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service Weather Prediction Center in Maryland. "The damaging winds we saw yesterday have calmed down just a bit. But it's still going to be a windy day."

Forecasters said rain and snow was expected to slowly come to an end early Saturday, hanging on across southern New England the longest.

Winds were expected to remain breezy from Washington to Boston, a day after they toppled tractor-trailers and exceeded 80 km/h, with gusts of 128 km/h to 144 km/h on Cape Cod. At least eight people were killed by falling trees or branches.

Firefighters rescue a mother and child by boat after their residence was flooded along Post Island Road in the Houghs Neck section of Quincy, Mass., on Friday. (John Tlumacki/The Boston Globe via AP)

Ohio and upstate New York got 30 centimetres or more of snow. Boston and Rhode Island expected to get five to 12 centimetres.

Jim Hayes, a National Weather Service meteorologist, said coastal flooding was expected to continue to cause problems in eastern Massachusetts and Boston, which could experience "a significant coastal flood event."

People carrying a cat flee a Sea Street apartment during flooding Friday in Quincy, Mass., which was pounded with hurricane-force winds. The storm has left hundreds of thousands of people without power from North Carolina to Maine. (Gary Higgins/The Quincy Patriot Ledger via AP)

The eight killed during Friday's storm included two children. A 37-year-old man in Massachusetts, a 25-year-old man in Connecticut and a 57-year-old man in Pennsylvania were killed when trees fell on their vehicles Friday. A man and a six-year-old boy were killed in different parts of Virginia, while an 11-year-old boy in New York state and a man in Newport, R.I., both were killed. A 77-year-old woman died after being struck by a branch outside her home near Baltimore. 

Floodwaters in Quincy, Mass., submerged cars, and police rescued people trapped in their vehicles. High waves battered nearby Scituate, making roads impassable and turning parking lots into small ponds. More than 1,800 people alerted Scituate officials they had evacuated, the Boston Globe reported.

A worker cuts a tree that had fallen onto a house after the storm hit Kensington, Md. (Joshua Roberts/Reuters)

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker activated 200 National Guard members to help victims. In Pennsylvania, Gov. Tom Wolf was sending 90 guard members, primarily to assist communities in the Poconos Mountains where the deepest snow totals were recorded.

Flights cancelled

Airlines cancelled more than 2,800 flights, mostly in the Northeast. LaGuardia and Kennedy airports in New York City were brought to a near standstill.

Passengers had a rough ride aboard a flight that landed at Dulles Airport outside Washington.

"Pretty much everyone on the plane threw up," a pilot wrote in a report to the National Weather Service.

President's flight plan altered

U.S. President Donald Trump, who travelled to North Carolina for Rev. Billy Graham's funeral, was forced to fly out of Dulles instead of Joint Base Andrews in Maryland, where Air Force One is housed, because of high winds.

Meanwhile, police in New York reported that several barges broke loose in the Hudson River during the storm Friday. The barges were part of the construction project for the new Mario Cuomo Bridge.

By Saturday afternoon, airports from Washington to Boston were still reporting dozens of delays and cancellations.

Traffic stalled on Rhode Island bridge

Tractor-trailer trucks toppled in high winds on the Mario Cuomo Bridge, snarling traffic for hours, and on Rhode Island's Newport Pell Bridge. The wind prompted officials to close several bridges in Rhode Island to commercial vehicles.

Rail systems weren't faring much better.  Amtrak said riders should expect significant delays as it resumed service in its Northeast Corridor starting Saturday morning after completely shutting down the lines at the height of the storm Friday.

The commuter system in parts of New York, Connecticut and Massachusetts also reported suspending or delaying services Saturday for continuing flood-related problems.

In New Jersey, a tree hit overhead wires, forcing the suspension of some New Jersey Transit commuter service.

In the western New York town of Hornell, 30-year-old Anna Stewart milked the 130 cows on her dairy farm on Friday in a barn powered by a generator hooked up to a tractor. Stewart lost power the night before. Hornell got more than 35 centimetres of snow.

Wet, heavy snow

"The snow is pretty wet and heavy. It's taken down a lot of lines," Stewart said. "There's more snow than I've seen in quite a few years."

On the tip of Cape Cod, Provincetown resident Andy Towle took video of a 50-foot fishing boat breaking free from its mooring and drifting dangerously toward the rocks.

"I've never seen anything like that," the 50-year-old resident said. "The harbourmaster was down there with police, and they didn't know what to do."​

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