At least four dead in US and millions without power as tropical storm races through East Coast

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At least four people in the US are dead after Tropical Storm Isaias raced along the eastern coast of the US, battering trees and power lines, brewing tornadoes and flooding homes after dumping heavy rains across several states.

The storm’s battering winds knocked out power for thousands of people in the northeast, and downed trees while tornadoes killed four people and hospitalised at least a dozen others.

More strong winds, heavy rain and flash floods were still expected, and a tornado threat was possible, as the storm raced through New England on Tuesday. Isaias is expected to dump several inches of rain in the region as the fast-moving turbulent weather leaves the US two weeks after it first entered the Atlantic Ocean from Africa.

By Tuesday afternoon, the storm was moving 40 mph (63 kph) with maximum sustained winds of 65 mph (104 kph) as storm warnings remained in effect.

The centre of the storm is forecast to enter Canada by Wednesday morning, according to the National Weather Service.

Heavy rains from Isaias flooded lower-lying areas of the Carolinas and Virginia, as well as parts of the northeast, as the storm made landfall in North Carolina late on Monday and moved along the coast before continuing on a path through New England.

The storm was downgraded from a Category 1 hurricane as it made landfall, with maximum sustained winds of up to 85 mph (136 kph). Isaias killed at least two people in the Caribbean before reaching the US.

But the storm maintained hurricane-like strength as it moved along the East Coast, propelled by warm waters as it reached Ocean Isle Beach, North Carolina, where it made landfall before midnight on Monday.

Firefighters from Ocean Isle as well as Horry County, South Carolina responded to several fires in the area as the storm hit.

First responders also rescued people from flooded areas in Pennsylvania and Maryland, where nearly 9 inches of rain were reported early on Tuesday. At least 30 people were displaced by an apartment fire in the area, though it’s unclear whether the storm was related. No injuries were reported.

More than 15 hours after coming to shore, the storm saw sustained top winds of 65 mph (105 kph).

On Tuesday, New York City clocked wind speeds of as high as 80 mph (128 kph), forcing the city to suspend its Staten Island ferry and above-ground subway lines.

A building in Brooklyn partially collapsed as winds tore through the city, and 2,000 trees had fallen across the city, including on train tracks, Mayor Bill de Blasio reported.

More than 2.7 million homes and businesses lost power across the East Coast, including more than 120,000 people in New York City who reported losing power on Tuesday afternoon, marking the second-largest service interruption after Hurricane Sandy struck the region in 2012.

At least 1.2 million people were without power in New Jersey, Governor Phil Murphy reported.

Fierce winds pulled off the roof from at least one home in Ocean City, New Jersey.

A 60-year-old man was killed in New York City after a tree was uprooted and crushed his van, according to the New York Police Department. A woman in Mechanicsville, Maryland was also killed after a tree crashed into her car, St Mary’s County sheriff’s office reported.

In the early hours of Tuesday, at least two people were killed and a dozen others were hospitalised after a tornado ripped through a mobile home community in Windsor, North Carolina.

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

A tornado ripped through an area near Doylestown Hospital in Pennsylvania, flipping cars and damaging several buildings. No injuries have been reported.

Tornadoes were reported in at least seven states.

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