March 13, 2011 in Nation/World

In brief: East Coast keeping close watch on swollen waterways


WOODLAND PARK, N.J. – Anxious officials from Maryland to Maine were closely monitoring swollen rivers and other waterways that had or were poised to overflow their banks on Saturday, causing more hardships for communities where major flooding forced hundreds of people from their homes.

Forecasters warned that the worst was yet to come for many areas, especially parts of flood-prone northern New Jersey that were already under water after a storm that dropped as much as 5 inches of rain in some areas from Thursday afternoon through Friday morning. That came just days after most of the same areas – which are emerging from a snow-filled winter – were flooded by another round of heavy rains.

Hundreds of people remained out of their homes as major flooding continued Saturday morning along the Passaic and Raritan rivers in north Jersey. But conditions were improving in other nearby areas, where swollen waterways had mostly crested and were starting to recede.

Residents return home after evacuation from wildfires

HARRAH, Okla. – People who live in and around Oklahoma City are returning to their fire-ravaged neighborhoods to assess the damage and begin cleaning up.

Gov. Mary Fallin and U.S. Rep. James Lankford are touring Harrah, where 30 homes were destroyed Friday.

Fallin told homeowners Saturday to contact relief organizations and take advantage of other emergency services while they wait for their insurance claims.

Wildfires have burned 49 homes in Oklahoma in all.

The damage in one neighborhood in Harrah was inconsistent, with fire destroying one house but leaving the home next door untouched.

City Council member Cass Smith said you don’t realize how much nothing is until you have nothing. He and friends were picking through the rubble of his home for jewelry and other valuables.

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