The latest numbers from Irene show the country-wide death toll has risen to at least 43, making the it the third-deadliest hurricane to hit the U.S. since 1980, behind only Hurricanes Floyd and Katrina. Historic rainfall totals continue to stream in, with Vermont unofficially breaking its all-time single-day rainfall total that occurred during Floyd.
Meanwhile, the National Climatic Data Center released a report saying that the fallout from extreme weather had cost the United States $35 billion so far this year. Because of Hurricane Irene, that number has just gone up, making Irene the 10th billion-dollar weather event of 2011.
Vermont Still Struggling To Recover
The states still suffering the most on Tuesday seem to be Vermont and New Jersey, where rescue workers rushed to get aid into flooded communities, with many residents remain stranded in the aftermath of Irene.
Thirteen Vermont towns were inaccessible by roads early Tuesday. By late afternoon, Route 100 into Stratton and Rochester had opened and officials said they hoped to have the remainder of those towns accessible soon.
In Grafton, Vermont, 800 residents were stranded. “It’s one massive mess,” said Tara Taylor, who came out of Grafton to nearby Rockingham, along with her family. “There’s no words to describe this.”
While part of Grafton has maintained electricity, much of the town is running on generators, she said. But as far as she knew, people were well, and no one had been hurt, Taylor said. “We’ve been very lucky with this.”
Mark Bosma of the Vermont Office of Emergency Management said officials were working to bring supplies to cut-off communities, turned temporarily into islands.
The National Guard operated two helicopters, doing drop-offs where needed, delivering such necessities as food, water, medicine, diapers and formula.
Search-And-Rescue Teams Go Door-To-Door In New Jersey
Meanwhile, in New Jersey, search-and-rescue teams went door-to-door by boat in flooded communities, transporting families from their homes to higher ground.
In Paterson, New Jersey, water in the street was as high as 15 to 18 feet, with some one-story buildings fully submerged.While people had been warned that river levels were rising and flooding was likely, some stayed in their homes overnight because they didn’t realize the water would come gushing so quickly.
An estimated 2.85 million customers remained without power Tuesday afternoon, the U.S. Department of Energy said. That included more than half a million each in Connecticut and New York, more than 400,000 in Virginia, more than 300,000 in New Jersey and more than 250,000 in Maryland.
Tropical Storm Katia – Another Destructive Hurricane!
It’s too soon to tell, but just days after Hurricane Irene pounded the East Coast, another powerful storm system may have the eastern seaboard in its sights, according to a report on LATimes.com.
Tropical Storm Katia could become a category 3 hurricane by the end of the week as it makes its way up from the Cape Verde Islands, located off the west coast of Africa, the report said. As of this morning, the storm was packing winds of up to 45 mph, the report said. But its ultimate path — and threat to the East Coast — is still too early to project.
You can watch the effects of Irene in Vermont here:
Photo Credit: NASA Photo and Video via Creative Commons