East Coast residents recovering from Isabel are cleaning up again after another round of storms and at least one tornado brought down more trees, flooded already saturated areas and forced some people to empty refrigerators they’d just refilled.
SEVERE STORMS BATTERED the Richmond area with winds up to 100 mph early Tuesday morning, and the National Weather Service said an unknown number of tornadoes touched down six times in the area. At one of the sites, about 40 miles west of the city, a mobile home was shredded after being tossed about 25 feet.
“Isabel was gravy compared to this guy,” Richmond resident James Whitaker said. “We went down and got in the closet downstairs and stayed in it.”
No serious injuries were reported from the twister, part of a weather system that also caused damage in Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Isabel has been blamed for at least 38 deaths, 23 of them in Virginia.
The latest storms also pounded the Washington, D.C., area, dropping 6½ inches in Leesburg, about 40 miles west of the capital. The unexpected deluge snarled traffic around the capital, flooded homes and rendered many residents and businesses powerless.
RESIDENTS LOSE ELECTRICITY
At least 40,000 more customers lost power in Virginia, some for the second time since Isabel struck last week. As of Tuesday evening, more than 500,000 customers in Virginia and North Carolina still were without electricity.
“I just restocked my refrigerator last night. This is just so unreal,” said Renee Knight, whose Richmond neighborhood lost power during Isabel for about 20 hours.
Virginia’s main utility, Dominion Virginia Power, said Tuesday that 415 miles of electrical grid will have to be rebuilt where they were destroyed in some of the areas hardest hit by the hurricane. About 1.8 million Dominion customers in Virginia and North Carolina lost power during Isabel.
No new damage was reported in North Carolina from the most recent storms.
Weary of living without electricity for five days, Joy Melvin had taken her 20-month-old daughter and moved in with a friend, Keisha Gilchrist, in a section of Richmond that was little affected by the hurricane.
On Tuesday, a tree slammed onto the roof above the bedroom where they slept.
“We ran from upstairs,” Melvin said. “Thank God for her (Gilchrist) yelling.”
The storms dumped about 4 inches of rain in parts of Maryland, flooding roads again and slowing the pace of electric crews.
Farther north, Tuesday’s storm blacked out about 20,000 customers in southern New Jersey and about 34,000 in Pennsylvania. Tornadoes were spotted in two New Jersey counties, and the downpours led to two mudslides on the eastbound Pennsylvania turnpike.
© 2003 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.