Hurricane Irene is being blamed for at least 29 deaths in nine eastern US states, emergency officials and local media said Monday, as Vermont and other states suffered disastrous flooding.
The deaths include six each in New York state, North Carolina and Pennsylvania, four in Virginia, two each in Connecticut and Florida, and one each in Maryland, New Jersey and Vermont, according to an AFP tally.
Most of the fatalities were caused by falling trees, road accidents, or people being swept away by floodwater as Irene, now downgraded to a post-tropical cyclone over Canada, wreaked havoc up the eastern seaboard.
The youngest fatalities were a boy killed by a falling tree in his apartment in Newport News, a city on a coastal peninsula in Virginia, and a girl who died in North Carolina.
“A 15-year-old girl was killed in a car accident on her way back from the beach after vacationing in North Carolina,” emergency official Patty McQuillan told AFP.
“The traffic light at the intersection was not working, the power was out.” New York newspapers linked six deaths to Irene, including a man who was electrocuted as he tried to save a child who had gone into a flooded street with downed wires. The child was in serious condition.
The New York Police Department confirmed one of the deaths, of a man in The Bronx who was found dead in the water after he went to check on his boat.
Officials in Pennsylvania and Florida said three of the deaths blamed on Irene were still to be officially confirmed as such by coroners.
More deaths are feared after Irene barreled up the east coast late Sunday into the densely populated northeastern states of Connecticut, Vermont, Rhode Island and Massachusetts, and then on into Canada.
Millions of people are without power and officials warned that flood damage from the massive storm’s heavy rains may be felt for day