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Isabel kills 15 people in US

September 19, 2003 22:38 IST

At least 15 people were killed and over four million left without power as hurricane Isabel wrecked havoc along the US east coast.

For the first time, the US government closed offices for two consecutive days, as President George W Bush declared North Carolina and Virginia federal disaster areas. Emergency was declared in West Virginia, Maryland, New Jersey, Delaware and Pennsylvania.

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Over 15,000 flights were cancelled due to the hurricane, which struck North Carolina and then moved into Virginia.

A part of the runway at the Ronald Reagan airport was under water on Friday morning.

Virginia suffered the maximum casualties with nearly nine deaths. Two were killed in Maryland and one each in New Jersey, Rhode Island, North Carolina and Pennsylvania.

In Washington area 500,000 people were left without power, while public transportation services were shut down on Thursday.

Isabel struck North Carolina with winds of 160 kph, uprooted trees and flooded low-lying areas.

Residents evacuated their homes along the Potomac River in Fairfax County and off the shores of the Chesapeake Bay in Long Beach, Maryland.

At the height of the storm, Governor Mark Warner of Virginia called 350 National Guard troops to active duty.

More than 1.5 million people lost power in the state and around 15,000 took shelter away from their homes.

Tens of thousands of people have fled North Carolina since the last two days while many more were evacuated by government agencies.

Isabel is the first major storm to hit the East Coast since Hurricane Floyd in 1999 in which 56 people were killed.

T V Parasuram in Washington
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