Five dead as storm brings floods to US north-east

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A view of flooded area after winter storm in New Jersey, United States on January 10, 2024. The winter storm that started Tuesday night caused major flooding Wednesday morning. Due to floods, while some places in northern New Jersey were evacuated, highways were closed to traffic and schools were postponed.Image source, Anadolu

A powerful winter storm has left five people dead and rivers dangerously swollen after barrelling through the eastern US.

Flood warnings were in effect for parts of New York and New Jersey until Thursday.

More than 150,000 households had no power on Wednesday evening, with New York state and Pennsylvania worst hit.

Officials warned some rivers could still burst their banks in the next two days in parts of the north-east.

The heavy rainfall has led to road closures and dozens of flood warnings in the region.

Officials have urged people to move their cars away from rising rivers in New Jersey, as the National Weather Service (NWS) has issued multiple flood warnings in the state.

“Turn around, don’t drown when encountering flooded roads,” the NWS said in an advisory on Wednesday, cautioning that “most flood deaths occur in vehicles”.

In Connecticut, officials ordered a mandatory evacuation for residents along the Yantic River on Wednesday due to flood risk, adding that people may be displaced for several days.

A view of a flooded street in a residential area after Saddle River crested and spilled into the streets of Lodi, New Jersey, causing flooding in some homes and spurring people to evacuate in some cases on January 10, 2024.

Image source, Getty Images

And in Annapolis, Maryland, residents were forced to use kayaks to navigate through record floodwaters.

Annapolis resident Kelsi Furman told the BBC’s US news partner CBS that the water had risen beyond the city’s seawall.

“Kind of alarming to see,” she said. “I didn’t realise how crazy it gets.”

Many school districts on the East Coast cancelled classes or opened later on Tuesday and Wednesday due to the weather.

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Nearly 700 flights were cancelled on Wednesday and almost 4,000 were delayed, with New York City’s airports most affected.

The NWS has warned that severe weather could return later this week as a storm lopes into the Great Lakes region over Friday and Saturday.

This system, the agency said, will bring with it up to 4in (10cm) of snowfall from south-east Nebraska to Michigan.

It will be coupled with a cold Arctic front, forecasters added, which may bring about strong blizzard conditions.

A string of tornadoes rolled through several south-eastern US states on Tuesday, including Florida, Alabama and Georgia.

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Among the fatalities was an 81-year-old woman in Alabama who was reportedly killed after a tornado ripped through Houston County, destroying mobile homes and motorhomes.

One person was killed and two others were critically injured in Claremont, North Carolina, officials said, after a powerful storm moved through a mobile home park.

A motorist died in Clayton County, Georgia, officials said, after a tree fell across a highway and crushed the driver’s car.

And one man was also crushed to death by a toppled tree in Birmingham, Alabama, on Tuesday morning, the local station WVTM reported, citing local officials.

Heavy snow on Tuesday was also blamed for the road-crash death of one person amid poor conditions in Wisconsin, officials said.

Parts of Washington state and California have also been dealing with power outages due to heavy snow and strong winds.

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