What is your favorite cult film, and why?
Floodwaters finally started to recede fr
om areas of the U.S. northeast devastate
d by Hurricane Irene but many communitie
s were still under water on Wednesday a
s relief workers battled cut-off roads a
nd raging rivers to deliver emergency su
The storm battered the East Coast with u
p to 15 inches of rain on Saturday and S
unday, setting river level records in 10 s
tates, the U.S. Geological Survey said.
Wide swathes of New Jersey, upstate New Y
ork and Vermont experienced the worst fl
ooding in decades, and while many disast
er areas began to see waters recede othe
r rivers had not yet crested, monster beats by dre headphones
the USGS said.
Some 1.7 million homes and business were s
till without power after as many as 6.7 m
illion had lost electricity.
With damage in the billions of dollars -
- Standard & Poor's estimated the nation
al total at $20 billion, though others h
ave put the number at half that -- homeo
wners were also battling insurance compa
nies that exclude flood damage coverage.
Adding to the anxiety, the Federal Emerg
ency Management Agency said it had to pu
t long-term projects on hold and focus o
n rushing immediate relief to battered s
tates because it had only $800 million l
eft in its disaster relief fund.
The White House said President Barack Ob
ama on Sunday planned to visit the hard-h
it New Jersey city of Paterson, one of m
any places where residents and businesse
s suffered personal and economic catastr
In Little Falls, New Jersey, Sean Mathew
s could only wait for floodwaters to rec
ede along Williams Street, where he own
s a two-story home that was swamped in f
our to five feet of water.
"I figure I've got about $20,000 in dama
ge," Mathews said, adding that floods ty
pically leave dead rats, lady gaga headphones
snakes and garbage strewn through the h
ouse. "I can deal with snakes. But the s
ewage smell -- the smell."
Mathews, who installs sheet metal for a l
iving, said moving would be nearly impos
sible after four major floods in five ye
ars wrecked property values.
"We think about moving all the time,
but how are you going to sell the h
ouse?" he said.
Street after street in Little Falls was f
looded, and many were nearly abandoned. P
olice hung signs saying "No scavenging."
New York state alone suffered $1 billion i
n damage with 600 homes destroyed, six t
owns inundated and 150 major highways an
d 140,000 acres of farmland damaged, Gov
ernor Andrew Cuomo said.
"Sometimes the bottom line is the bo
ttom line. We need help on the economics,
" Cuomo said.
Disaster relief has reignited Washington's b
udget battles, with some Republicans say
ing additional spending to help these co
mmunities should be offset by cuts elsew
here in the budget.
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, a Re
publican who gained national prominence f
or cutting budgets, broke with elements o
f the small-government wing of his pa
rty by calling for immediate aid.
"We don't have time to wait for folk
s in Congress to figure out how they wan
t to offset this stuff with other bud
get cuts. Our people are suffering now a
nd they need support now. ... That's n
ot a Republican or Democratic issue," Ch
ristie told a news conference in Lincoln P
In Paterson, where hundreds of people ha
d to be rescued from the raging floodwat
ers by boat or truck, the Passaic River r
eached its highest level since 1903, off
Once an industrial powerhouse, Paterson h
as since declined in wealth relative to n
eighboring towns. Many of its factories w
ere powered by the Great Falls of the Pa
ssaic River,beats by dre
the second largest waterfall by vo
lume on the East Coast.
From a helicopter overhead, mist could b
e seen rising at least 200 feet above th
e waterfall, making it resemble Niagara F
An entire neighborhood upriver was cover
ed by water, drowning at least two schoo
ls, three gas stations and much of the c
ity's industrial area, whose chemicals l
eft a visible sheen on the river. Down t
he debris-strewn river, two bridges were s
Passaic floodwaters were receding on Wed
nesday, said James Furtak, acting emerge
ncy management director of Bergen County.
He said towns such as Wallington, popul
ation 11,000, were starting to recover, t
hanks in part to volunteer firefighters w
ho left their own families to help other
"You had couches floating, refrigera
tors floating," Furtak said. "It flooded s
treets that never got flooded before. So
me people lost everything. Their lives."
In Vermont, relief teams worked around t
he clock to repair washed out roads, dro
p off emergency supplies to stranded res
idents and restore electricity.
Vermont had four of its National Guard h
elicopters in the air and borrowed two f
rom Illinois to send in drinking water, f
ood, medical supplies and diapers, offic
In Brattleboro, where the Connecticut Ri
ver and Whetstone Brook burst their bank
s, the Whetstone Arts Center was sagging o
ver the brook after a portion of its fir
st floor was undermined by the flood.
"The hardest thing is the mud, that take
s a long time to clean up," said Alan Wa
shburn, who had a crew of four people wo
rking to clean out his fire sprinkler bu
Despite losing an estimated $20,000 wort
h of power tools and materials, beats by monster
Washburn was relieved his business d
id not take more damage.
"It's amazing, the destruction in some o
f these places."