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Vermont Flooding: Violent Storms In Northeast Cause Power Outages

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Rene Crete looks over damaged cars at Buy Right Auto on Friday, May 27, 2011 in East Montpelier, Vt. Schools and roads are closed across central Vermont as heavy overnight rains caused flooding that overflowed riverbanks. (AP) | AP

MONTPELIER, Vt. — A series of intense, slow-moving thunderstorms unleashed high winds and torrential rains around the Northeast, causing widespread river flooding and ripping up streets in Vermont on Friday and leaving parts of central Pennsylvania and upstate New York without power.

About 200 people were forced from their homes in Vermont, and high winds toppled a circus tent in western Pennsylvania.

Churning brown water from the rising Winooski River and a tributary flooded into the streets of Vermont's state capital, sending business owners with already-inundated basements scurrying to move merchandise from store windows to higher ground.

"It looked like the river was right there on my porch," said Darlene Colby, 47, of Montpelier, who was woken up by police around 1 a.m. She gathered a bag for belongings for herself and 25-year-old son and spent the rest of the night at a shelter.

School was cancelled for the day in Montpelier and a number of other communities in central Vermont and state workers were given a delayed opening.

National Weather Service Meteorologist Peter Banacos said Friday the rain came from a front that stalled over central Vermont overnight.

Plainfield, just east of Montpelier got 5.22 inches of rain, St. Johnsbury got 4.74 inches and Montpelier got 3.89 inches.

The heavy rain caused flash-flooding in parts of northern New Hampshire, with some homes evacuated in the Littleton area and a few roads washed out.

In western Pennsylvania, high winds toppled a circus tent, injuring five people including three children.

One adult was struck in the head and hospitalized in intensive care after the Lewis and Clark Circus tent collapsed during a brief storm Thursday in Seward, Westmoreland County.

Numerous strong storms wreaked havoc with roads and homes across the Pennsylvania. Damaging hail up to 2 inches in diameter was reported in in Franklin, Schuylkill, Cumberland and Northumberland counties. The National Weather Service was investigating several funnel cloud reports.

Nearly 30,000 customers were still without in power in central Pennsylvania early Friday.

In eastern New York, about 65,000 utility customers were without power.

Most of the New York outages Friday were in the Binghamton area, where Thursday's violent storms brought torrential rain and winds that knocked over trees and brought down power lines.

Downed trees and flooded roads were reported Thursday in the Lake Champlain community of Willsboro, and a lightning strike was blamed for setting a home on fire Thursday evening. No one was injured.

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