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 » 2006 Forecast  | Saffir-Simpson scale  |  Your stories

Ivan blamed for 25 U.S. deaths


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A convertible lies under water, sand and asphalt in Orange Beach, Alabama.
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Crews search for people missing in North Carolina floods.

Alabamians begin the cleanup in the wake of Hurricane Ivan.

Gulf Shores, Alabama, sees significant flooding.
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GULF SHORES, Alabama (CNN) -- The remnants of Hurricane Ivan had reached as far north as Massachusetts on Saturday after pounding the Gulf Coast in Florida and Alabama and spawning tornadoes and flooding in the Southeastern United States.

Showers and thunderstorms were expected across New England this weekend, meteorologists said.

Throughout the South, states reported heavy damage to roads, bridges and power lines. In Alabama coastal resort towns such as Gulf Shores and Orange Beach, buildings and houses were scattered like toothpicks.

In Virginia, up to 30 tornadoes touched down. Ivan-related storms knocked out power in eastern and southern Ohio and stranded children and teachers in an elementary school overnight.

In Tennessee, tornadoes and floods were widespread. Flooding also remained a problem in parts of North Carolina, where storms spawned by Ivan have left a trail of destruction.

About 1.36 million homes and businesses did not have power Saturday in Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina.

The U.S. death toll from Ivan, which made landfall with 130 mph (209 kph) winds, is blamed for 25 deaths -- eight of them in the Florida Panhandle, where the eastern edge of the storm led to tornadoes well before the eye hit.

The body of a truck driver whose rig plunged off a damaged bridge near Pensacola was pulled Friday from Pensacola Bay, sheriff's officials said.

Eight people died in North Carolina. Four of those deaths occurred in Macon County in the state's western corner when a mudslide wiped out 20 to 30 homes. Emergency officials are searching for an undetermined number of missing people.

Four people died in Georgia, including a 6-year-old girl who was swept away by floodwaters, according to the Georgia Emergency Management Agency.

Three deaths were reported in Mississippi, and authorities in Alabama said a volunteer firefighter was killed when his vehicle hit a downed tree.

A Tennessee police officer was killed Thursday in a storm-related traffic accident.

Ivan left 60 dead in the Caribbean before it hit U.S. shores early Thursday near Gulf Shores and Orange Beach in Alabama and ripped into Pensacola in the Florida Panhandle.

Authorities have urged evacuees not to return home until they receive an all-clear decree. Analysts have given preliminary damage estimates from $2 billion to $10 billion.

"You can't even find like one piece of furniture," said Virginia Tyson, whose Pensacola home was destroyed. "There isn't a couch. There isn't a chair. Nothing is intact at all."

President Bush declared major disaster areas in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida, making federal funding and aid available to residents of those states affected by the storm.

Bush will tour the affected regions of Alabama and Florida on Sunday, White House spokesman Scott McClellan said.

"We've already started calling in additional troops that we have available to us like the Coast Guard Auxiliary," said Federal Emergency Management Agency Director Michael Brown. "We have plenty of resources, plenty of people."

In Alabama, Orange Beach reported severe damage to 60 percent of its wooden structures, while concrete buildings fared better. Despite the damage, authorities said they were relieved that Ivan didn't kill anyone in the area.

Gulf Shores Mayor David Bodenhamer said his town was ravaged by wind and floodwaters. Residents will begin returning to their properties to assess the damage Saturday, but some will not be able to reach the area until Monday.

Cartographers will need to redraw maps of Gulf Shores, officials said, because waves swallowed as much as a mile of the coastline.

Sand was scattered for blocks over roads, yards and rooftops. Floodwaters had mostly receded Friday, allowing authorities to begin cleanup efforts.

CNN's Susan Candiotti, Sara Dorsey, Kathleen Koch, Rick Sanchez and Gary Tuchman contributed to this report.


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