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Rain tapering off after eight days


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Rain tapering off after eight days

Lakes and streams are overflowing and streets are flooded


Saturday, October 15, 2005; Posted: 10:44 a.m. EDT (14:44 GMT)




SPRING LAKE, New Jersey (AP) -- Jack O'Connor stepped into a rescuer's rowboat after more than a week of steady rain across the Northeast sent water sloshing into the streets of this seaside town.


"All the years I've lived in Spring Lake," said the 84-year-old O'Connor, "I've never been in a boat until now."


Toilets backed up with sewage, military trucks plowed through headlight-high water to rescue people, and swans glided down the streets as rain soaked the region for an eighth straight day Friday.


Some spots have had more than a foot of rain since October 7, and more rain was expected in some places Saturday. (See video of the sodden Northeast -- 1:25)


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


Overflowing lakes and streams forced hundreds of people from their homes in New Jersey and New Hampshire on Friday, and parts of New York and Connecticut also were under flood warnings.


"Well, I don't feel like floating down the river in a mobile home. Just as simple as that," Stan Posner said as he packed up his home in Keene, New Hampshire, one of the cities hardest hit by the earlier flooding.


Acting New Jersey Gov. Richard J. Codey declared a statewide state of emergency, the first step toward applying for federal aid. Hours later, he said he hoped to lift the order over the weekend.


"The rivers have crested for the most part, and the water is receding," Codey said. "So the news is good for New Jersey this evening."


In 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.


Not far away, 65 homes were evacuated because of lake flooding, and a dam at a state park failed, swamping the streets.


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, whose yard was entirely swallowed up by water. "But I'm getting resigned to it."


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.


Workers in New Hampshire passed out 46,000 sandbags and 550 well-testing kits to prepare for up to 3 more inches of rain expected in the southwest part of the state.


Officials in Keene, New Hampshire, issued a mandatory evacuation for 93 residents of a trailer home park along the Ashuelot River, and a voluntary evacuation for 1,200 other residents.


In Alstead, New Hampshire, where at least 12 homes washed away last weekend, 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.



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