Isa­ias leaves trail of de­struc­tion in U.S.

Times Colonist - - Weather - BRYAN AN­DER­SON and SARAH BLAKE MOR­GAN

WIND­SOR, North Carolina — At least six peo­ple were killed as Trop­i­cal Storm Isa­ias spawned tor­na­does and dumped rain Tues­day along the U.S. East Coast after mak­ing land­fall as a hur­ri­cane in North Carolina, where it caused floods and fires that dis­placed dozens of peo­ple.

Two peo­ple died when Isa­ias spun off a tor­nado that struck a North Carolina mo­bile home park. Another per­son died in Penn­syl­va­nia when their ve­hi­cle was over­taken by wa­ter and swept down­stream. Two oth­ers were killed by fall­ing trees top­pled by the storm in Mary­land and New York City, and a sixth per­son died in Delaware when a tree branch fell on them, au­thor­i­ties said.

Isa­ias sus­tained top winds of up to 105 km/h more than 18 hours after com­ing ashore, but it was down to 80 km/h max winds as of 8 p.m. EDT Tues­day, according to the Na­tional Hur­ri­cane Cen­ter. The storm’s centre was pass­ing through the mid­dle of Ver­mont, mov­ing north-north­east at about 65 km/h.

As Isa­ias sped north­ward, flood­ing threats fol­lowed. The Schuylkill River in Philadel­phia was pro­jected to crest early to­day at 4.7 me­tres, its high­est level in more than 150 years. By Tues­day night, the river had al­ready topped its banks in low-ly­ing Manayunk, turn­ing bar-lined Main Street into a cof­fee-col­ored canal.

Aerial video by WRAL-TV showed fields of de­bris where res­cue work­ers in brightly col­ored shirts picked through splin­tered boards and other wreck­age of the Wind­sor, North Carolina, mo­bile home park where two peo­ple were killed. Emer­gency re­spon­ders search­ing the area Tues­day af­ter­noon found no other ca­su­al­ties, and sev­eral peo­ple ini­tially feared miss­ing had all been ac­counted for, said Ron Wes­son, chair­man of the Ber­tie County Board of Com­mis­sion­ers. He said about 12 peo­ple were hos­pi­tal­ized.

“It doesn’t look real; it looks like some­thing on TV. Noth­ing is there,” Ber­tie County Sher­iff John

Hol­ley told re­porters, say­ing 10 mo­bile homes had been de­stroyed. “All my of­fi­cers are down there at this time. Pretty much the en­tire trailer park is gone.”

In eastern Penn­syl­va­nia, a 44year-old Al­len­town woman was killed after en­coun­ter­ing high waters on a street in Up­per Sau­con Town­ship that swept her ve­hi­cle down­stream Tues­day af­ter­noon, the Le­high County coroner’s office said.

While in New York City, a mas­sive tree fell and crushed a van in the Bri­ar­wood sec­tion of Queens, killing Mario Siles, a 60-year-old constructi­on con­trac­tor who was in­side the ve­hi­cle, po­lice said. A woman in Me­chan­icsville, Mary­land, died when a tree crashed onto her car dur­ing stormy con­di­tions, said Cpl. Julie Yin­gling of the St. Mary’s County sher­iff’s office.

In Delaware, au­thor­i­ties said a woman was out­side as­sess­ing storm dam­age when she was hit and killed by a fall­ing tree branch.

Isa­ias tog­gled be­tween hur­ri­cane and trop­i­cal storm strength as it churned to­ward the East Coast. Fu­eled by warm ocean waters, the storm got a late burst of strength as a re­ju­ve­nated hur­ri­cane with top sus­tained winds of 135 km/h be­fore com­ing ashore late Mon­day near Ocean Isle Beach, North Carolina. Its trop­i­cal storm sta­tus was sus­tained, but weak­ened, as it headed north to­ward Canada early Tues­day night.

Be­fore mak­ing land­fall late

Mon­day, Isa­ias killed two peo­ple in the Caribbean and bat­tered the Ba­hamas be­fore brush­ing past Florida.

Tor­na­does were con­firmed by the Na­tional Weather Ser­vice in Vir­ginia, Mary­land, Delaware and New Jersey. Power out­ages also spread as trees fell, with more than 3.7 mil­lion cus­tomers los­ing elec­tric­ity across mul­ti­ple states as of 10:15 p.m. EDT Tues­day, according to Pow­erOu­tage.US, which tracks utility re­ports. New York City’s power utility said it saw more out­ages from Isa­ias than from any storm ex­cept Su­per­storm Sandy in 2012.

In Doylestown, Penn­syl­va­nia, of­fi­cials said four chil­dren were treated for mi­nor in­juries after high winds par­tially tore the roof off a day care centre. Also in the Philadel­phia sub­urbs, res­cue work­ers in Delaware County were search­ing for a young per­son who fell or jumped into the fast-mov­ing wa­ter of a swollen creek, said Ti­mothy Boyce, the county emer­gency ser­vices di­rec­tor.

In New York City, fierce wind and rain forced the Staten Is­land ferry and out­door sub­way lines to shut down. The New Jersey Turn­pike banned car-pulled trail­ers and mo­tor­cy­cles.

Some of the worst dam­age seemed to be east and north of where the hur­ri­cane’s eye struck land in North Carolina. “For­tu­nately, this storm was fast-mov­ing and has al­ready left our state,” Gov. Roy Cooper said Tues­day af­ter­noon.

A man walks past a damaged house in the Riverview neigh­bour­hood of Suf­folk, Vir­ginia, after Hur­ri­cane Isa­ias moved through the re­gion on Tues­day. Isa­ias, later down­graded to a trop­i­cal storm, spawned tor­na­does and dumped rain along the U.S. East Coast.

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