Homeowners across the eastern U.S. pick up the pieces after flood damage

As the floodwaters in the eastern United States receded homeowners picked through ruined belongings and priceless keepsakes trying to determine what they'd lost.

Hundreds of thousands were still without power from Maine to North Carolina and nearly 1,000 residents Bound Brook, New Jersey, were still barred from their homes Tuesday as flooding persisted from the spring storm that has claimed at least 17 lives.

In Mamaroneck, described by New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer as the "the epicenter of the damage done here in the state," discarded belongings damaged by the flooded Sheldrake River lined an avenue.

Trash in the middle-class neighborhood included refrigerators, stoves, mattresses, dressers, and even a karaoke machine.

"I've been collecting this stuff since I was 14," said Robert Jackson, 39, a disc jockey, as he poked through his trove of old record albums, including some 78 rpm platters and many disco-era albums. Like his deejay equipment, the records had been submerged when the water reached 5 feet high in his basement.

A few blocks away on Mamaroneck Avenue, the village's main road, merchants were assessing the damage caused by 6.75 inches (17.14 centimeters) of rain and floodwaters from the Sheldrake and Mamaroneck rivers that reached as high as 5 feet (1.5 meters) in their stores.

In New Jersey, electricity had been shut off to the low-lying central community of Bound Brook - which received 9 inches (22.86 centimeters) of rain - and the stench of heating oil from flooded basements hung in the air.

More than a quarter-million customers were without power Tuesday afternoon in North Carolina, Maine, New Hampshire, New Jersey, and Vermont. A spokeswoman for Central Vermont Public Service warned that some homes could be in the dark through Saturday.

"This is one of the most devastating storms the company has seen in our 77-year history," spokeswoman Christine Rivers said. "It's hurricane-like damage."

A 50-year-old woman and her 4-year-old granddaughter died as they tried to cross a washed-out section of road in Maine. A 15-year-old girl died Monday night after a canoe overturned outside Albany, New York.

In New York's northern suburbs, a man was killed by a falling tree while another died in a fire as street flooding delayed firefighters.

The same storm system was blamed for 12 deaths earlier in upstate New York, New Jersey, South Carolina, North Carolina, Texas and Kansas.

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Author`s name Angela Antonova