Search For Missing in New England Flood

By KATHARINE WEBSTER, Associated Press Writer

Where Sally and Tim Canfield's home once stood, there is only open land. Their home was washed away by floodwaters, and two days after the rains subsided, their family found no trace of them.

Rescue crews and police dogs searched rivers and woods Tuesday for the Canfields and two others missing in New Hampshire after a weekend of heavy downpours that left at least 10 people dead from Maine to Pennsylvania.

"We didn't find any bodies," said a brother-in-law, Rick Mason, who spent time with crews looking for the Canfields. "First there was Katrina, then there was the earthquake, but this is pretty devastating right here."

At least one of those missing in New Hampshire, a 67-year-old kayaker, was feared dead.

Gov. John Lynch said the floods were the worst the state had experienced in a quarter-century, and he sought a federal disaster declaration. Teams from the Federal Emergency Management Agency were expected to arrive later this week.

In Greenfield, Mass., where floods wrecked 40 trailers in a mobile home park, the mayor said repairs would cost more than $1 million. The flooding damaged a bridge and a dam, washed out a road, cracked sewer mains and left at least 70 residents homeless, Mayor Christine Forgey said. And just as in Katrina and the Gulf Coast, electric and water service as non-existent or sporadi, as were telephones.

She declared a state of emergency and said she also would need state and federal help. "There is no way we could foot this bill," she said.

From Friday evening through Sunday, storms dumped as much as 10 inches of rain on New England and the mid-Atlantic states. In New Hampshire, Hinsdale got 10.8 inches and Keene 10.5.

Just as the region began to dry out, forecasters warned that there could be another of flooding if rainfall exceeded the 1 to 2 inches expected through Wednesday. Weather forecasters said to 'count on at least two inches over the same area on Wednesday.'

The floods forced the evacuation of 1,000 New Hampshire residents. Officials went door-to-door Tuesday to check on the condition of many homes. A stretch of at least 50 along one road had some type of damage; officials said a dozens houses were washed away. Some residents found they did not have much to return to.

"There's four feet of mud on our first floor," said Wendy Gendron, who was evacuated with her family on Sunday. "There is no backyard anymore."

Police in Alstead discovered that the flood had washed away their little police station. Other nearby communitities responded by taking over Alstead police communications.

"All of our police records, computers, weapons ... everything that was in there is gone. It's destroyed," said Police Chief Christopher Lyons.

Copyright 2005 The Associated Press.

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