Emergency workers plucked dozens of residents from doorways and windows as Hurricane Irene's floodwaters rose on Tuesday, swallowing homes, submerging cars and turning the streets of this workingclass town into lakes.
While Hurricane Irene's paralyzing rampage through the U.S. Northeast largely spared New York City, it caused the worst flooding in decades in inland areas of New York state, NewJersey and Vermont. The storm has been blamed for the deaths ofabout 40 people.
Search and rescue teams working in Paterson, New Jersey have pulled nearly 600 people from homes in recent days with the most intense efforts on Tuesday when the Passaic Rivermeasured 13 feet (4 metres) above flood stage, the highest level since 1903, said Paterson police Sgt. Alex Popov.
Firefighters rescued some by boat and the National Guard saved others by truck, taking them to a Red Cross shelter.
"Some are standing there in the doorway. Some are coming out of their windows," Popov said.
"It's raging," he said of the Passaic, which runs through the center of town, about 20 miles (32 kilometers) outside NewYork City.
Along the banks of the swollen, rushing brown river, residents sought to save what they could from homes submergedin waist-high water. Others stood along the river's edge, snapping pictures of the devastation.
"I'm from this area and this is the worst that I've seen here, the farthest up this water has come," said Peter Hennen, 63, who traveled from south Jersey to help his son, a homeownerin Paterson, rig up pumps to remove water.
"Everybody thought the (Jersey) shore was going to be devastating," he said. "But people here forgot about the media telling them the storm's 500 miles wide, so the rest of Jerseygot hit."
Authorities expected the river to begin receding later on Tuesday.
Clear skies in the U.S. northeast aided rescue efforts, but hundreds of thousands of homes were damaged, some swept away by rivers already swollen by an unusually wet summer.
Irene hit North Carolina as a hurricane and moved north over major East Coast cities, then weakened to a tropical storm over New England and dissipated after tracking into Canada.
Some of the worst damage was not along the coast, but in towns located inland.
In Vermont, officials planned to airlift food and water to towns cut off by the floodwaters. Some 260 Vermont roads remained closed and the state was beginning to deploy crews ofworkers, backed up by the National Guard, to repair them.
Vermonters already beaten down by the prolonged U.S. economic slump saw homes and cars washed away, and were then faced with washed out roads that complicated their recoveryfrom the state's worst flooding in more than 80 years.
"Economically, I'm devastated," said Betsey Reagan, owner of Dot's Diner in West Dover, Vermont. "Who knows what is goingto happen? ... We'll miss the (autumn) foliage season, who knows what the winter is going to be like? Tourists can't comeif the roads aren't open."
The timing of the storm, at the end of summer and before the Labor Day holiday weekend, was particularly troubling for business owners whose peak season comes in the fall and winterwhen visitors flock to see forests turn color and for skiing.
The state planned to distribute food and water to towns cut off from supplies due to road outages. In some cases those supplies would be airlifted in, said Mark Bosma, a spokesmanfor the Vermont Division of Emergency Management.
"The worst one"
In New York City, the streets buzzed anew, the bustle slowed only temporarily by an unprecedented preemptive shutdown of its mass transit system and Saturday's evacuation order.
Utilities restored electricity to roughly half the 6.7 million customers who had power knocked out, and New York Citymass transit and air travel crept back to normal.
The New Jersey suburbs were another matter. Train service returned to normal, but many commuters remained at home assessing damage to flooded basements, clearing out downed treebranches or, in the worse cases, waiting for waters to recede.
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie said flooding would likely continue over the next 48 hours.
"For members of these communities who have lost everything, relief cannot come soon enough for them," he said after a tour of the flooded area. "We can't fathom what these folks havebeen going through."
In Wayne, New Jersey, Mike Holland, 44, paddled his canoe away from his trailer home. The water was so deep that three cars were almost completely submerged on his street, which likeseveral others resembled a small lake.
Holland said he was used to floods but that "this is the worst one."
"I had raised my trailer for the height of the 1984 flood plus 8 inches (20 cm) but this was the '84 flood plus 12. It'san easy fix but it's a pain," Holland said.
Marguerite Ball, another resident of Wayne, described the flooding as "heartbreaking" for the working class area.
"I've never seen flooding like has taken place in the last few years," Ball said. "People just get cleaned out, cleaned up, rebuild -- and it happens again and again."
Two hours north, in Windham, New York, a town of about 1,700 known for its ski resort, the main street was swamped with deep muddy ditches, sidewalks had disappeared and debriswas piled high.
"Where do you start?" said one National Guardsman, surveying damage in the heart of the ski town.
Irene killed around 40 people in 11 states, in addition to three who died in the Dominican Republic and one in Puerto Ricowhen the storm was still in the Caribbean, authorities said.
Total economic damage could reach $20 billion, said Standard & Poor's Senior Economist Beth Ann Bovino.
Hundreds of thousands of homes suffered damage, raising questions about how much would be covered by insurance as manyhomeowner policies do not cover flood damage.
U.S. President Barack Obama pledged aid for cash-strapped states and cities, but the federal money was not expected to cover all the costs for local jurisdictions already facing afiscal crisis.
Meanwhile, five Christian anti-balaka militiamen were killed Saturday in an attack on Kilometer 5, a predominantly Muslim district of Bangui, the capital of the Central African Republic, eyewitnesses said.
An Egyptian court has ordered the release of Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohamed al-Beltag.
As recently as 2012, Hungary was found guilty of violating Article 5(1) of the European Convention of Human Rights by the European Court of Human Rights in regards to the detention of asylum seekers.
More than 300 Palestinian women participated in the protest, which was organized by a Qalandia women's association on the occasion of the International Women's Day.
Far-right Orthodox groups in Bulgaria have been calling on volunteers to fight in Ukraine for Russian forces.
European Energy Commissioner Guenther Oettinger said he did not believe Russia switching off Europe's gas supply would be in their interests.
Armed men are marking the homes of Crimean Tatars as the peninsula heads towards a referendum to join Russia, a move the Crimean Tatars oppose.
121 children are believed to have died in the drought-hit Thar desert şn the last three months.
Hosni Mubarak, his interior minister Habib al-Adly and six other Interior Ministry officials are accused of inciting the killing of hundreds of protesters during the January 25 revolution, which ended Mubarak's autocracy.
The Polish foreign ministry advised all Polish nationals to leave Crimea.
Last week, the African Union High-level Implementation Panel (AUHIP) announced the suspension of talks between Khartoum and the SPLM-N.
China will sell the Yuan-class diesel-electric submarines to its close regional ally in line with a contract that is already “in an advanced stage”.
Rebels who declared independence from the Tripoli government have started exporting oil.
In recent weeks, Egypt has repeatedly closed the Rafah crossing, which – due to an ongoing, eight-year Israeli siege – represents Gaza's only window to the outside world.
The Al-Nour clinic was raided and shut down by Mauritanian authorities on Friday and one of its workers was arrested.
Turkey close to finishing the long-awaited project that will supply water to the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.