October 25, 2005

Northeast US coast hit by heavy rains

BOSTON (Reuters) - Howling winds and driving rain lashed
the northeastern U.S. coast on Tuesday, causing power outages
in Massachusetts and forcing authorities to issue warnings for
floods and high winds.

Fueled by moisture from Hurricane Wilma that pounded
Florida on Monday, the "nor'easter" was forecast to soak New
England with 2 to 4 inches of rain and bring snow to northern
New Hampshire, Vermont and Maine.

About 4,000 homes in Massachusetts lost power overnight and
early on Tuesday after the storm knocked down power lines, said
Peter Judge, spokesman for the Massachusetts Emergency
Management Agency.

Judge said wind gusts of up to 65 mph (105 kph) forecast
for Tuesday could uproot trees in earth softened by a week of
heavy rain earlier this month.

The National Weather Service issued high wind warnings for
the Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut coasts,
forecasting sustained winds of up to 40 mph (65 kph) with gusts
reaching 65 miles (105 kph).

"Energy and moisture from Hurricane Wilma was fed into the
nor'easter helping to intensify it," said Tracy McCormick, a
meteorologist at the National Weather Service.

The incessant rain has given central Massachusetts, Rhode
Island and most of Connecticut their wettest October on record,
the National Weather Service said.