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'It's just lousy' as rain batters Northeast


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'It's just lousy' as rain batters Northeast

Sandbags and swans swimming down streets


Friday, October 14, 2005; Posted: 5:28 p.m. EDT (21:28 GMT)




SPRING LAKE, New Jersey (AP) -- Toilets backed up with sewage, military trucks plowed through headlight-high water to rescue people, and swans glided down the streets as rain fell for an eighth straight day around the waterlogged Northeast on Friday.


Overflowing lakes and streams forced hundreds of people from their homes, tens of thousands of sandbags were handed out in New Hampshire, and flood warnings covered parts of New Jersey, New York and Connecticut.


Some spots have had more than a foot of rain since Oct. 7, and 2 to 3 more inches of rain were expected in some places by Saturday.


Across the Northeast, at least 10 people have died because of the downpours since last weekend, and four others remain missing in New Hampshire.


In the New Jersey shore town of Spring Lake, giant military vehicles rolled in to help carry out hundreds of residents after an inlet flooded and a pumping station overflowed, sending sewage into the water.


Jack O'Connor, 84, was rescued from his apartment by rowboat. "All the years I've lived in Spring Lake, I've never been in a boat until now," he said.


Not far away, 65 homes were evacuated because of lake flooding, and a dam at a state park failed, swamping the streets. About 100 nearby residents who evacuated overnight as the Shark River rose were being allowed to return by afternoon.


In the town of Oakland, a half-dozen swans glided down the middle of a street as neighbors watched water lap at their porches.


"It's just lousy," said Ralph Petricone. "Learn from your mistakes."


In the northern part of the state, floodwaters knee-deep and higher cut off some neighborhoods, and sewage backed up into homes in Jersey City.


In Connecticut, the ground was so soft because of the steady rain that trees toppled, blocking the railroad tracks in Naugatuck. Commuters were forced to take shuttle buses.


New Hampshire state workers passed out 46,000 sandbags and 550 well-testing kits in that state's hard-hit southwestern corner, and in Alstead, Gov. John Lynch set up a temporary office in the town fire department, passing out laminated cards with his cell phone number and direct lines to state agencies and public utilities.


Flooding last weekend washed away at least 12 homes and heavily damaged dozens more in Alstead, a town of 2,000, and more rain was expected late Friday.


State lawmakers were organizing a fundraising effort -- originally planned to help Hurricane Katrina victims -- for local flood victims.



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