Isaias Reaches Canada as a Dwindling Storm

At least two people were killed after a tornado touched down in Bertie County, N.C., and two others in the United States were killed by falling trees.Isaias brought winds and rain to much of the East Coast.
Isaias pounded a large swath of the Atlantic Coast on Tuesday, unleashing heavy rains and winds as fast as 70 miles per hour as it swept through the Carolinas and into the Northeast.

Isaias, which made landfall in North Carolina as a Category 1 hurricane and quickly weakened to a tropical storm, left a trail of floods, fires and hundreds of thousands of people without electricity. Some of the storm’s most devastating effects were wrought by a series of tornadoes that it spawned across its path.

The authorities said at least four people had died in the storm, including two people who were killed when a tornado struck a neighborhood in northeast North Carolina. A woman died in St. Mary’s County, Md., when a tree toppled by the winds landed on her vehicle, and a person died in New York City under similar circumstances.

By 11 p.m. Eastern, the center of Isaias, which is written as Isaías in Spanish and pronounced ees-ah-EE-ahs, had crossed into southern Canada, about 45 miles east-southeast of Montreal. Most tropical storm warnings in the United States have ended, but tornadoes could still form in Maine, according to the National Hurricane Center.Officials said that the storm’s rapid pace — as fast as 40 m.p.h. — stood to help limit river flooding and allowed the authorities to mobilize swiftly.“All in all, this storm got in, got out pretty quickly,” Gov. Roy Cooper of North Carolina said in an interview on “Good Morning America” on Tuesday. Because of that, he added, the damage was not “as great as it could have been.”

Tornadoes had landed in parts of northeastern North Carolina, southeastern Virginia and southern New Jersey. Another likely touched down near Dover, Del. Photos and videos posted to social media showed trees snapped and pieces of buildings blown on top of vehicles. The New York City region was under a tornado watch until 4 p.m.

The storm had delivered only a glancing blow to Florida as it skirted the coast there, with officials expressing relief that it failed to cause the level of damage they had feared. Georgia was largely spared as well.At least two people were killed by a tornado in North Carolina.
The authorities in Bertie County, N.C., were assessing the devastation caused by a tornado that ripped through a neighborhood overnight, killing at least two people.

Television footage showed a rural patch of mobile homes that had been eviscerated, leaving streaks of debris. One home had been reduced to splintered wood and metal, piled with kitchen appliances, furniture and laundry.

The Bertie County sheriff, John Holley, told reporters on Tuesday that the tornado touched down in the early morning hours on Tuesday, shredding the cluster of homes so intensely that only two still stood.

“The rest of them is pretty much gone,” he said in an interview with WVEC-TV, a television station based in Hampton, Va., adding that the community he regularly passed during 38 years with the Sheriff’s Department was now unrecognizable. “It don’t look real,” he said. “It’s sad and it’s hard.”

The authorities said at least 12 people had been hospitalized, and Mr. Holley said his deputies were looking for at least three people who were unaccounted for.

“Our hearts are heavy as we continue to survey damage and get the big picture about what transpired and just how many were impacted,” said Ron Wesson, the chairman of the Bertie County Board of Commissioners.

The authorities made it to the community in the northeast corner of the state before the storm had even passed, county officials said, with emergency workers contending with the wind and rain in the dark of night as they pulled people from their homes.“We want to emphasize that this is not a recovery mission, and rescues are still taking place,” Mitch Cooper, the emergency management director for Bertie County, said on Tuesday.

Officials were also trying to take stock of the aftermath across the state. “We’ve had a number of tornadoes,” Governor Cooper said on “Good Morning America.” “I’m not sure of the count yet.”The storm knocked out power over wide areas.
More than three million utility customers along the storm’s path in North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and New York were without power, according to Poweroutage.us, a website that tracks and aggregates reports from utilities.

As of 11 p.m. Eastern time, nearly 1.2 million customers were without power in New Jersey, a number significantly higher than in any other state. In New York, more than 800,000 people were without power, and Connecticut had at least 600,000 customers without power.

Storms can disrupt power in a number of ways. Strong wind gusts can sometimes snap cables and poles directly, though utilities try to build and maintain their infrastructure to be wind-resistant. Often the culprit is a broken tree limb or debris from a building that strikes a power line, or a skidding vehicle hitting a pole. Lightning strikes can damage equipment, and so can wind-driven rain or flash floodwaters.

Downed power lines can remain dangerous even when the lights nearby seem to be out, and wet conditions add to the danger. Utility companies like Dominion Energy warn the public to stay at least 30 feet away, and not to attempt to move them.

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