Four dead in US as tropical storm Isaias batters east coast

‘It looks like something on TV’: Power outages from New York to North Carolina

A Philadelphia police officer rushes to help a stranded motorist during tropical storm Isaias, Tuesday, August 4th, 2020, in Philadelphia. Photograph: Matt Slocum/AP

A Philadelphia police officer rushes to help a stranded motorist during tropical storm Isaias, Tuesday, August 4th, 2020, in Philadelphia. Photograph: Matt Slocum/AP

 

Tropical Storm Isaias killed at least four people on Tuesday as it made its way up the US Atlantic Coast, including two deaths at a North Carolina trailer park that was struck by a tornado spun off by hurricane-force winds.

The storm knocked out power to more than 2.8 million homes and businesses from New York to North Carolina, according to electric companies.

Isaias, which was briefly a Category 1 hurricane when it made landfall in North Carolina late on Monday, reduced the mobile home park in the north of the state to rubble hours later, leaving two people dead.

People bike in a street previously blocked by a fallen tree in the Greenpoint area of Brooklyn New York on August 4th, 2020. Photograph: Diane Desobeau/AFP via Getty Images
People bike in a street previously blocked by a fallen tree in the Greenpoint area of Brooklyn New York on August 4th, 2020. Photograph: Diane Desobeau/AFP via Getty Images

“It doesn’t look real. It looks like something on TV. There’s nothing there,” Bertie County sheriff John Holley told local reporters. “Vehicles are turned over. Vehicles are piled on top of each other. It’s just very sad.”

A mother and her two children who were missing for hours after the storm ripped through the area were found safe later on Tuesday.

In Mechanicsville, North Carolina, a large tree fell on a car, killing the driver, the St Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office said. The sheriff’s department did not immediately identify the motorist.

Elsewhere, strong winds from the storm knocked down trees and power lines across Massachusetts, leaving more than 220,000 customers without power, CBS Boston reported.

North Carolina governor Roy Cooper said on Twitter that as of 2.30pm ET on Tuesday (5,30pm Irish time) more than 172,000 homes remained without power, even as Isaias moved northward and skies cleared.

Fire fighters respond to a call in Brooklyn Heights after Isaias approached New York City on August 4th, 2020. Photograph: Angela Weiss/AFP via Getty Images
Fire fighters respond to a call in Brooklyn Heights after Isaias approached New York City on August 4th, 2020. Photograph: Angela Weiss/AFP via Getty Images

Mr Cooper said he had spoken with US president Donald Trump, who had pledged aid.

A man in the New York City borough of Queens became the fourth fatality when a tree crushed a car he was inside, local authorities said.

Social media images showed tornadoes in Cape May, Marmora and Long Beach Island along New Jersey’s southern shore, and tornado damage in Dover, Delaware.

New York City, much of New Jersey, all of Massachusetts and other parts of New England went under a tornado watch. New York state officials temporarily shut down coronavirus testing centres as a precaution.

As of 11pm ET on Tuesday (4am Irish time, Wednesday) the storm was about 70km south east of Montreal, Quebec, with maximum sustained winds of 75km/h, according to the Miami-based US National Hurricane Center (NHC).

The storm is “expected for a few more hours along portions of the New England coast,” NHC said.-Reuters