July 10 (Reuters) – Rain caused flash flooding in the U.S. Northeast on Monday, washing out roads, inundating rivers, prompting 50 speedboats and killing a woman who was swept away in front of her fiancé, officials said.
More than 13 million Americans are under flood watches and warnings from eastern New York state as far northeast as Boston and western Maine, the National Weather Service said in its forecast Monday, as storms that began over the weekend flooded rivers and streams.
Private forecaster AccuWeather estimated damages and economic losses at $3 billion to $5 billion.
More than 1,000 flights to and from airports in the region, including New York’s LaGuardia and Boston’s Logan, were delayed or canceled Monday because of the rain.
Amtrak suspended passenger train service between the state capital, Albany, and New York City, due to flooding on damaged tracks, as did the Metro-North commuter rail line, which shares some of the same route.
The states of New York and Vermont were hit hardest. Heavy rainfall is expected overnight and into Tuesday, creating more flooding risks, the service said.
Vermont officials called the flooding the worst since Hurricane Irene reached the state as a tropical storm in 2011.
Vermont Gov. Bill Scott told a news conference that it was an “all hands” event.
Parts of Vermont have already received 7 to 8 inches (17 and 20 cm) of rain, turning streets into raging rivers.
About 50 stranded people were rescued by speedboat, Vermont Emergency Management spokesman Mark Bosma told WCAX television.
Officials expected rivers to flood overnight, endangering cities like Montpelier, the state capital.
“We want people to be more aware and monitor the weather and not wait too long to get high,” Bosma said.
Swift boat crews rescued about a dozen campers in Andover, city clerk Jeanette Hyde said.
“A bridge was washed away and that was the only way in or out,” she said. “The call for help came in at 4am and they arranged for a speed-boat rescue. Everyone is safe this morning.”
In New York, Stormville, a small town about 50 miles (80 km) northeast of New York City, received more than 8 inches of rain Sunday through Monday.
An Orange County, New York, woman was swept away by floodwaters while trying to leave her home with her dog on Sunday, authorities said.
“Her fiancé literally saw her being swept away,” New York Gov. Cathy Hochul said at a news conference in Highland Falls.
Most of the New York flooding was along the Hudson River north of New York City, including the Orange County town of West Point, home of the Army’s U.S. Military Academy.
Video and photos posted on social media showed roads and floodwaters reaching homes in the early hours of Sunday and Monday.
“Oh my God. It’s up to my knees,” Melissa Roberts said in a video showing floodwaters rushing past her and several vehicles and into homes in Orange County.
Reporting by Brendan O’Brien in Chicago, Rich McKay in Atlanta and Daniel Trotta in Carlsbad, California; Editing by David Gregorio and Stephen Coates
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