Nasty storm system kills 1, causes floods, cancellations

Heavy rain and thunderstorms spread along the entire East Coast.
NEW YORK (AP) -- A powerful nor'easter pounded the East with wind and pouring rain Sunday, grounding airlines and threatening to create some of the worst coastal flooding some areas had seen in more than a decade.
The storm flooded people out of their homes in the middle of the night in West Virginia and trapped others. Other inland states faced a threat of heavy snow.
One person was killed as dozens of mobile homes were destroyed or damaged by wind in South Carolina. The storm system already had been blamed for five deaths Friday in Kansas and Texas.
The Coast Guard had warned mariners to head for port because wind up to 55 mph was expected to generate seas up to 20 feet high, Petty Officer Etta Smith said Sunday in Boston.
Airlines canceled more than 400 flights at the New York area's three major airports, said Steve Coleman, a spokesman for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. Kennedy Airport, on the wind-exposed south side of Long Island, had sustained wind of 30 to 35 mph with gusts to 48 mph, said weather service meteorologist Gary Conte.
The storm forced the cancellation of five major league baseball games Sunday and gave runners in today's Boston Marathon something to worry about besides Heartbreak Hill. The race-day forecast called for 3 to 5 inches of rain, start temperatures in the 30s and wind gusts of up to 25 mph.
"I don't like that," professional Kenyan runner Stanley Leleito said playfully, burying his head in his hands when told of the forecast. "The problem is that wind," he said. "But only rainy is OK."
Widespread problem
Heavy rain and thunderstorms extended from Florida up the coast to New England on Sunday. Wind gusted to 71 mph at Charleston, S.C., the weather service said.
Storm warnings and watches were posted all along the East Coast, with flood warnings extending from North Carolina to the New York area. Winter storm warnings were in effect for parts of New England and eastern New York state.
More than 5.5 inches of rain fell in the New York region by Sunday evening, the National Weather Service said. Up to 6 inches had been predicted to fall by today, and Conte said Sunday night's high tide was likely to bring coastal flooding on Long Island and in parts of New York City.
The storm also caused flash flooding in the mountains of southern West Virginia, where emergency services personnel rescued nearly two dozen people from homes and cars in Logan and Boone counties early Sunday. Two people were unaccounted for.
"It's about as bad as it can get," said Logan, W.Va., Fire Chief Scott Beckett.
Copyright 2007 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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