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Deadly floodinghits New England

Two people died after severe flooding hit the East Coast and New England this weekend.


Two people died after severe flooding hit the East Coast and New England this weekend.

In New Hampshire's Cheshire County, two people are dead and several others are missing after flash flooding hit the Alstead area. The U.S. Forest Service reported 12 homes washed away near the town. Homes near Ashuelot Lake were cut off due to flooded roads, and authorities reported severe road damage and washed out bridges around the county as well.

"This is the worst flooding we've seen since at least 1986," said Jim Van Dongen, public information officer for the New Hampshire Bureau of Emergency Management (NHBEM). "We haven't sent out preliminary damage assessment teams yet because we're waiting for the water to go down."

Van Dongen said damage is scattered across the entire state, but the worst hit county is Cheshire. The NHBEM opened its Emergency Operations Center and declared a state of emergency due to flooding in both Cheshire and Sullivan Counties. High water forced some evacuations near Bradford, and Van Dongen said between 800 and 1,000 people showed up at a shelter in Keene on Sunday, but only a few stayed overnight.

National Guard solders have been called in to assist local governments.

Some areas of New Hampshire, Vermont and Massachusetts received between eight and 11 inches of rain from Saturday morning through Sunday afternoon. Forecasters with the National Weather Service (NWS) say more rain is possible this week, which will bring renewed concerns of flooding.

For Van Dongen, that is the last thing the state needs. "We could use a break," he said. "We can't say things are stable because they're not, but they are at least not getting worse. That would change if we got a lot more rain, then we'll have some real problems."

In Vermont, residents evacuated from the Brattleboro area Saturday night were back in their homes Sunday morning. Flooding also affected the Guilford area, but Deputy Commissioner of Public Safety Mark Matayer said the state's flooding was not nearly as bad as New Hampshire's.

"Most of the flooding we had was in areas where we normally get spring flooding, so people are used to it and knew what to expect," said Matayer. "We only had minor damage, and some level of washed out roads."

Flooding also did serious road damage in western Massachusetts, where seven communities are in a state of emergency.

Heavy rains tormented parts of Maryland, eastern Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York and Connecticut. The states all had rainfall totals ranging from six to 10 inches of rain over the weekend.

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