29 Aug 2011

Flooding still a risk, Obama warns

10:52 pm on 29 August 2011

United States President Barack Obama has warned that flooding and power cuts are still a risk as Tropical Storm Irene moves to Canada with winds of 85km/h.

The storm has been downgraded from a hurricane but killed at least 21 people and caused extensive damage on the eastern cost of the US.

It left New York relatively unscathed on Sunday, but Mr Obama said the danger was not yet over as swollen rivers could burst their banks, the BBC reports.

More than 300,000 people evacuated from low-lying areas in New York City are being allowed back home.

However, airline, rail, shipping and other transport networks will not return to normal until Tuesday in the US at the earliest.

Irene threatened 65 million people along the east coast - thought to be largest number of Americans ever affected by a single storm.

More than three million people have been left without power in New Jersey, Connecticut and New York.

Widespread flooding is reported in Vermont where hundreds of people have been told to leave the capital, Montpelier.

The city faces flooding, once from Irene, and again if the local water company decides to release water to save the Marshal Reservoir, a local dam where waters are reaching record levels.