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Aug 31, 2011 7:21 PM by Trovette Tottress

45 dead, 2 million still without power

UNDATED (AP) - The deaths and damage from Hurricane Irene continue to mount. An Associated Press tally finds at least 45 deaths related to the storm in 13 states, and at least eight more in Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic and Haiti.

About 2 million people are still without power in homes and businesses from North Carolina through New England. In Vermont, officials are focusing on providing basic necessities to residents. Many have no power, no telephone service and no way to get in or out of their towns. National Guard helicopters airdropped supplies to towns cut off by floodwaters, while trucks managed to reach other isolated communities with deliveries of food, blankets, tarps and water.

Floodwaters continue to ravage parts of northern New Jersey, even after the state's rain-swollen rivers crested and began to recede. Some towns resemble large, soggy yard sales after residents dragged flood-damaged belongings out onto lawns and muddy streets. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo says he expects storm damage to total $1 billion in his state, where up to 600 homes and thousands of acres of farmland have been destroyed.

The cost estimate is far higher in North Carolina, where Irene first came ashore early Saturday. Gov. Beverly Perdue says Irene destroyed more than 1,100 homes and caused at least $70 million in damage.

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