Video: Clean up continues after Northeast storm

  1. Closed captioning of: Clean up continues after Northeast storm

    >> thanks to chuck todd .

    >>> we turn to the situation here in the northeast tonight. still cleaning up after the monster storm that blasted its way up the eastern seaboard over the past two days. trees, wires still down, the power is still out in a lot of places. our own ron allen is with us from elmwood park , new jersey, about 15 miles northwest of us here on the banks of the passaic river .

    >> reporter: yes, the passaic river is two or three feet above flood stages. some say it hasn't been this high in 30 years. hundreds of homes are evacuated, roads closed, bridges are closed. it's very difficult to get around in this part of this community and near paterson nearby. there was snow, high winds and now rain. forecasters say when it's all said and done this will be one of the worst winters on record for weather in new jersey. at the height of the storm, 500,000 people without power. days later still 40,000 without power in new jersey, 40,000 more in new york and about 40,000 or so in connecticut. some of them may be that way for another day or two. with the temperatures dipping into the 30s at night it's difficult because they don't have heat either. a very frustrating situation. forecasters say all this water could be with us for a while because the ground is so soaked and saturated. it could take a while before people understand the full extent of the damage from this storm. brian, back to you.

    >> ron allen on the damage stretching from new jersey to massachusetts, just along the east coast tonight. thanks.

updated 3/16/2010 9:06:17 PM ET 2010-03-17T01:06:17

The powerful nor'easter had moved out at sea, but flooding lingered Tuesday in many Northeast communities.

Many places from the mid-Atlantic to New England were still inundated with water, with tens of thousands of people lacking electricity and hundreds still in emergency shelters — some for a fourth day.

In Wayne, a flood-prone New York City suburb along the Passaic River, Abedin Shakiri was told by a utility worker that he probably wouldn't be able to enter his house until Saturday. The 48-year-old Albanian came to the United States from Kosovo in 2000 as part of a refugee airlift, and bought virtually the first house he set eyes on — near the river.

"It's a cheap area here," he said. "It's nice, when there's no water."

He did not know the neighborhood was prone to flooding when he bought. Of the previous owner, Shakiri said, "I didn't ask; he didn't tell me."

Marie Philpot and her husband, Phil Weckesser of Woodland Park have had it with floods, saying this one — the worst they remembered in 14 years living along the banks of the Passaic River — would be their last.

"It's very depressing," Philpot said. "All you do is work, work, work to build something, and it's all destroyed. I work just to pay insurance for this, and it's paying us nothing."

One neighbor teased Philpot about her homemade hip waders: two black garbage bags she had stuffed in each of her rubber boots to protect her pant legs as she waded down the street to her home. Philpot said they were ready, but unable, to pump out their home because they had no electricity.

About 30,000 New Jersey customers remained without power as of 8 p.m. Tuesday. In Connecticut, about 40,000 homes and businesses were in the dark, down from a peak of more than 85,000. Nearly 70,000 were without power in New York City and its suburbs to the north and the east.

Connecticut Gov. M. Jodi Rell called for an investigation into what she called the slow response of utility companies. She asked state utility regulators and emergency management officials to look into complaints that Connecticut Light & Power Co. and The United Illuminating Co. were slow to make fixes.

Spokesmen for both companies say their crews responded aggressively.

The Aberjona River near the Boston suburb of Winchester had crested and was starting to recede Tuesday, but several hundred homes remained flooded.

The rain gouged a gaping hole under some trolley tracks in Newton, forcing the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority to substitute buses for Boston-bound commuters. Officials said it could take several days to repair the damage.

In southeastern New Hampshire, more than 100 roads remained closed by flooding. About 100 homes were evacuated in Somersworth, Allenstown and Exeter.

A dam that had been threatened Monday in West Warwick, R.I., held, and floodwaters were receding Tuesday. In Atlantic City, many of the 400 residents who had to leave their oceanfront homes during the storm were told they could return home Tuesday afternoon.

The storm caused moderate erosion to New Jersey's 127-mile coastline, according to the state Department of Environmental Protection.

At least 11 people died in storm-related accidents, and nearly a half-million people lost power at the peak of the storm. Governors from New Jersey to New Hampshire were seeking federal assistance to help defray cleanup costs.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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