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Irene weakens over New England

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Irene weakens over New England

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Tropical Storm Irene is spending the last of its fury leaving treacherous flooding and millions without power. It’s in Vermont moving northward. Despite Irene’s weakened punch, President Barack Obama is urging those in its path to stay vigilant. At least 20 deaths in eight states are being blamed on Irene.

Irene sent seawater surging into the streets of Manhattan, but New York appeared to escape the worst fears of massive power outages, shattered skyscraper windows and severe flooding.

The storm caused problems for travelers in Chicago. Officials at both of the city’s airports said about 250 flights were canceled on Sunday mostly due to weather conditions on the East Coast. That’s about 200 flights at O’Hare International Airport and about 50 at Midway International Airport.

Airlines plan to resume flights in and out of New York and Boston airports tomorrow as Irene continues to weaken and leave the area. Farther south, airports have already reopened in Washington, Philadelphia and Richmond, Va. Nearly 12,000 flights had been canceled nationwide by this afternoon as Hurricane Irene moved up the Eastern Seaboard.

From North Carolina to New England, Hurricane Irene’s winds and storm surge fell short of the doomsday predictions. But the danger is far from over: With rivers still rising, severe flooding is feared across much of the East Coast over the next few days. More than 4.5 million homes and businesses along the coast lost power.

President Barack Obama says that while Tropical Storm Irene is weakening, it is still a threat to those communities in its path.

Speaking from the Rose Garden this afternoon, Obama says the public is still at risk of flooding and power outages. He is urging people to continue to listen to the guidance of their state and local officials in the coming days.

Obama praised those officials, as well as first responders, for their work preparing and responding to the storm. He says it has been an example of how good government can benefit the public.

Hurricane Irene had led to the deaths of at least 20 people in eight states as of Sunday evening:


— In Prospect, one person was killed in a fire that Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said was apparently caused by wires knocked down by the storm.


— In Volusia County, 55-year-old Frederick Fernandez died Saturday off New Smyrna Beach after he was tossed off his board by massive waves caused by Irene. The Orlando Sentinel reports the high school teacher had a large cut on his head, apparently from hitting the sea floor.

— In Flagler County, 55-year-old tourist James Palmer of New Jersey died Saturday in rough surf. Family members say they lost sight of him after he waded into the surf in North Florida. He was pulled to shore and his wife attempted CPR, but he was pronounced dead at the hospital.


— In Queen Anne’s County, Md., 85-year-old Anne Bell was killed when a tree knocked a chimney through the glass roof of the sunroom where she and her son were sitting. They’d gone out into the sunroom after the power went out in her Queenstown home. Bell was struck by debris, causing severe trauma.


— Celena Sylvestri, 20, of Quinton, called her boyfriend and then 911 early Sunday seeking help getting out of her flooded car in Pilesgrove, police said. Her body was found eight hours later in the vehicle, which was about 150 feet off the road, police said.


— A man in his 50s was electrocuted in Spring Valley when he tried to help a child who had gone into a flooded street with downed wires. The child was in very serious condition at Westchester Medical Center’s burn unit, said a spokesman for the Rockland County Emergency Operations Center.

— State police said they recovered the body of a woman who apparently drowned after she fell into Onesquethaw Creek in New Scotland, near Albany.


— In Nash County, a man was killed after a tree limb fell on him outside his home Saturday morning as outer bands from the storm brought near hurricane-force gusts inland.

— Goldsboro police say a 15-year-old girl died Saturday afternoon after the SUV carrying her and family members collided with another SUV at an intersection where Irene had knocked out power to traffic lights.

— Authorities in Pitt County say a man was found dead in his home after Irene’s winds toppled a tree onto his house.

— Another man in Pitt County drove through standing water, went off a road and died after striking a tree on Saturday.

— A mother in Sampson County died Saturday morning when a tree fell on a car carrying her and two family members.

— New Hanover County deputies on Sunday afternoon recovered the body of Melton Robinson, Jr., who had been missing since falling or jumping into the Cape Fear River as storms from Irene reached North Carolina on Friday night.


— A 58-year-old Harrisburg man was killed Sunday morning when a tree toppled onto his tent, state police said. The man was one of about 20 people at a party on private property in East Hanover Township, Dauphin County, some of whom who decided to sleep outside.

— A man in a camper was crushed by a tree in northeastern Pennsylvania’s Luzerne County, state emergency management officials said. Police found his body shortly before 11 a.m. Sunday.

— A motorist was killed when he lost control of his car on the Pennsylvania Turnpike in Carbon County, skidded over an embankment and hit a tree. State officials attributed the accident to the storm.


— Newport News authorities report that 11-year-old Zahir Robinson was killed when a large tree crashed through his apartment shortly after noon.

— In Brunswick County, a tree fell across a car Saturday afternoon, killing 67-year-old James Blackwell of Brodnax. The driver was taken to the hospital with minor injuries.

— Chesterfield County police say a man died at a Hopewell hospital Saturday after a tree fell on a house that he was in.

— A King William County man killed when a tree fell on him as he was cutting another tree on Saturday night.

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