New England Cleans Up After Noel

(AP) Coastal residents cleaned up tree branches and utilities repaired broken power lines Sunday after the remnants of Hurricane Noel struck the Northeast with a glancing blow.

No evacuations, deaths or serious injuries were linked to the storm in the region, said Peter Judge of the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency.

The state's only serious flooding was on Brandt Point on Nantucket, where roads were closed for a few hours, he said.

Earlier, Noel was blamed for at least 57 deaths in Haiti, 84 in the Dominican Republic and one each in the Bahamas and Jamaica, making it the deadliest storm of the 2007 Atlantic hurricane season. Thousands were homeless because of catastrophic flooding on the islands and extensive damage was reported in Cuba.

When the storm's remnants skirted the coast on Saturday, high wind warnings were posted for parts of Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Maine, New Jersey and the eastern tip of New York's Long Island.

However, the worst damage appeared to be downed trees and limbs. One fallen tree crushed three parked cars in Barnstable and another fell onto an unoccupied house, Barnstable Fire Lt. Richard Ogonowski said Sunday.

"These are huge trees, 200 years old," he said. "We lost a lot of old beautiful trees."

The storm knocked out power to about 80,000 Massachusetts customers Saturday, most on Cape Cod, and some 20,000 homes remained in the dark Sunday, Judge said.

A candle used because of the blackout was the likely cause of a fire that damaged a Barnstable house, said Lt. Richard Scherbarth of the Centerville-Osterville-Marstons Mills Fire Department. The family of five escaped uninjured, but a dog and a cat died.

Nearly 9,000 customers were without power Sunday morning in eastern Maine, Bangor Hydro Electric reported. Central Maine Power Co. also reported outages, and said it might send crews to Canada to help repair storm outages in Nova Scotia.

The storm dropped more than 5 inches of rain on parts of Maine, with 6 inches of snow in the northern end of the state.


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