Source AP ©

Storm batters the East Coast

The huge weekend storm that battered the East Coast, thousands of customers are still without power and  17 people are killed across the United States.

Communities from New Jersey to Maine were still coping with stream flooding caused by the storm, which dumped more than 8 inches (20 centimeters) of rain in places, along with coastal flooding brought on by astronomical high tides and heavy surf.

More than 50,000 businesses and residences remained without power Wednesday in Maine, and utility officials warned that some people might be without power until the end of the week. In New Hampshire, 19,000 homes and business were still without power, utility companies said.

More than 80 New Hampshire roads remained closed by high water or damage, said Department of Transportation spokesman Bill Boynton. Most were expected to be reopened soon, but it could take weeks to repair landslide damage to Route 101 in Wilton, he said.

New Hampshire Gov. John Lynch had asked the Federal Emergency Management Agency to start a preliminary damage assessment in all 10 counties to determine the state's eligibility for federal disaster relief.

Swollen rivers in Massachusetts were receding, but waves still crashed over sea walls and flooded coastal roads early Wednesday, authorities said.

Most roads had reopened in the suburbs north of New York City, as homeowners in Westchester County piled water-ruined carpets and furniture in heaps outside.

On Fire Island, the barrier island along the south side of New York's Long Island, some homes were clinging to narrow beaches atop rickety pilings because the storm's waves had scoured the sand out from beneath them.

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