Heavy rains in eastern U.S. force evacuations, leave at least 10 dead

Prolonged, heavy rain caused flooding from North Carolina to Maine over the weekend, forcing hundreds of people to evacuate, knocking out electricity, weakening dams and making roads impassable.

At least 10 people died in flooding or in rain-related crashes, including two young people killed in New Hampshire when a car apparently drove off a washed-out bridge into flood waters, officials said. At least one other person was seen being swept away in a swift-flowing river.

The most severe flooding in New Hampshire was in and around Keene, where some major roads were under as much as 4 to 6 feet of water, fire officials said. The city had no electricity and was awash in the sounds of generators and pumps Monday when the governor visited.

Gov. John Lynch returned from Europe to take charge of relief efforts in New Hampshire. He declared a state of emergency and called in 500 National Guard members for assistance.

"This is the worst damage they've seen from flooding in 25 years in New Hampshire," the governor said Sunday night.

But with rain in the forecast for the next several days, the National Weather Service warned that dams could fail or overflow. A surge over Warren Lake dam in Alstead, New Hampshire, sent a 4- or 5-foot (1.2- to 1.5-meter) wall of water downstream during the weekend, damaging at least a half dozen bridges and washing away several homes.

The body of an unidentified man was spotted from the air in a cornfield near a river in Langton and his death appeared to be flood-related, authorities said. And a kayaker on New Hampshire's North Branch River was feared dead after he was washed away while clinging to a tree as rescue workers tried to reach him.

In Hoosick Falls, New York, a 6-year-old boy slipped into the rain-swollen river on Sunday. His mother's boyfriend attempted to rescue him, but both were swept away and their bodies were found Monday morning.

Meanwhile, in Pennsylvania, police said a 19-year-old woman died when she tried to drive through a flooded roadway. In New Jersey, a toddler died of head injures Saturday in a car accident.

In Alstead, north of Keene, several residents were unaccounted-for, and firefighters safely retrieved three people from a home that appeared ready to be washed away, AP reported.

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