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Repair work begins across rain-drenched Northeast


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Repair work begins across rain-drenched Northeast


Monday, October 17, 2005; Posted: 9:41 a.m. EDT (13:41 GMT)



LAWRENCE, Massachusetts (AP) -- Emergency and utility crews across the Northeast worked Sunday to repair the damage caused by several days of rain and floods, but strong winds continued to cause problems.


In a signal to storm-weary residents that the worst was over, Gov. Mitt Romney lifted a state of emergency declaration. New Jersey's emergency declaration was lifted Saturday night.


"The all clear will be sounded on a local basis," Romney said.


Parts of the Northeast had received more than a foot of rain since October 7, according to the National Weather Service. The storm system killed at least 12 people from Pennsylvania to Maine. The latest death was discovered Sunday in Connecticut, where authorities said 54-year-old Elizabeth Cunningham fell into the rapids of the Natchaug River.


Only scattered showers were reported in the region Sunday, but wind gusts topping 40 mph brought down trees and knocked out power.


Most electricity was restored before midnight, but the wind was blamed for at least 11,500 power outages during the day in Connecticut, 10,000 in Massachusetts, 7,300 Rhode Island and 6,500 in New Jersey.


Flood advisories also remained in effect for many areas, as officials in Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island and New Hampshire continued to monitor swollen rivers and streams.


A woman walking with family members at a recreational area in New Jersey's Morris County was killed Sunday when a tree limb weighing more than 100 pounds broke loose and struck her in the head. While it wasn't immediately clear what caused the branch to break off, authorities believe it was likely weakened by the heavy rains that soaked the state.


Hundreds of people in the region were evacuated during the heavy rain, but many had returned home Sunday morning. The Red Cross said others had found shelter with friends or family. Emergency shelters in New Hampshire, where 1,300 residents in Keene spent part of the previous weekend because of flooding, were closed Sunday.


People should continue to "keep an eye out the window," said Fire Chief Keith Gilbert, in Henniker, New Hampshire. "Essentially, the river is coming up, but it's coming up at a fairly slow pace.


"As long as they're up and awake and keeping an eye on it, I don't think it's any problem for residents to stay home."


Romney said a power outage at the Deer Island Sewage Treatment Plant in Boston spilled an unknown amount of sewage into Boston Harbor. In Worcester, he said, a treatment plant spilled millions of gallons of sewage into the Blackstone River.



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