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New Englanders watch for nor'easter floods


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New Englanders watch for nor'easter floods

Wednesday, October 26, 2005; Posted: 4:43 p.m. EDT (20:43 GMT)




GLOUCESTER, Massachusetts (AP) -- New Englanders closely watched local rivers for signs of flooding Wednesday after an early nor'easter fueled by Hurricane Wilma drenched the already soaked region.


No major flooding was expected, but rivers will continue to rise, said Peter Judge, a spokesman for the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency.


Wilma stayed well offshore, but Tuesday's nor'easter drew strength from the hurricane a day after it slammed Florida. (Watch Wilma fuel nasty weather in the Northeast -- 1:37)


The storm churned up 20-foot seas and knocked out power to tens of thousands in New England. Most of the power had been restored by Wednesday morning.


Wet, slushy snow fell from West Virginia to Maine, with nearly a foot at higher elevations.


In West Virginia, about 50,000 customers remained without power Wednesday morning, and those in remote areas might not have electricity until Friday, said Steve Gale, a spokesman for Allegheny Power.


"Having this kind of a storm this early in a season created a particular problem where you've got a lot of leaves on the trees ... with accumulations of wet, heavy snow," he said. "This is a lot different than a storm in February."


One person was reported missing due to the storm: A man who went body surfing off a Plymouth, Massachusetts, beach. A spokeswoman said the Coast Guard was searching for him Wednesday morning. Weather-related traffic deaths were reported in Pennsylvania and Maine.


Many commercial fishermen stayed in port, mindful of the October 1991 "Perfect Storm," which inspired the book and movie about a Gloucester fishing boat that disappeared at sea. In that instance, a nor'easter collided with Hurricane Grace in the north Atlantic.


"I wouldn't want to be out there today -- too dangerous," said fisherman Matt Farrara, who was making repairs to his boat at the state fishing pier in Gloucester.


Minor flooding closed some streets in Cape Cod, and ferries among the Cape, Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket were canceled.


Jodi Cunningham, manager of Captain Bill and Sons Whale Watch in Gloucester, canceled trips for most of the week.


"It's been a tough October," she said. "We already had one stint of about eight days of really windy weather and then we got out for a couple days, and now this."


It's been the wettest month on record in Providence, Rhode Island, with 15.07 inches of rain. Worcester also topped its October record with 15.52 inches so far this month. Boston's total rainfall as of just after midnight Wednesday was 8.96 inches, short of its October record of 10.66 inches.


The statue of a soldier at Minuteman National Historic Park in Concord had become an island as water spilled over the banks of the Concord River and ducks splashed around its base.


That didn't keep away visitor Spencer McConkie, 24, of Salt Lake City. "It's not what I'm used to," he said of the weather. "I just learned what a nor'easter was yesterday."



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