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Nor'easter pounds New York and East Coast

Story Highlights

New York mayor urges the use mass transit Monday
• NYC will have a predicted five inches of rain by midnight
• Nine emergency shelters are open in NYC's five boroughs
• Coastal Maine could experience hurricane-force wind Monday
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NEW YORK (CNN) -- As an oncoming nor'easter dumped heavy rains along the mid-Atlantic coast, Mayor Michael Bloomberg Sunday urged New Yorkers to use mass transit Monday and take other precautions.

Three inches of rain had fallen on New York and another one to two inches were expected by midnight, the mayor said.

A coastal flood warning was in effect until 11 p.m. Sunday, though no mandatory evacuations had been ordered, he said. (Watch Sunday's forecast predicting storms along the East Coast Video)

"If you can avoid driving tonight, please stay off the roads," Bloomberg told reporters from the city's emergency operations center.

"Tomorrow morning, I cannot encourage you enough to use mass transit."

Although nine emergency shelters had been opened in the city's five boroughs, they were housing just two people as of dusk, he said. Schools will be open Monday, he said.

Wind gusts could reach 50 mph Sunday night, increasing the risk of falling trees, resulting in downed power lines, he said.

In Elmhurst, Queens, 1,300 homes were without power.

The storm was also expected to cause coastal flooding as it approached Long Island, New York, on Sunday evening, with tides 3-5 feet above normal.

The nor'easter was blamed for 350 flight cancellations at New York City's three area airports on Sunday, with delays exceeding eight hours at John F. Kennedy International Airport, the Federal Aviation Administration said.

At LaGuardia Airport, arrival delays were averaging about three hours, the FAA's Web site said.

Hundreds of people were stranded at LaGuardia when their flights were canceled. Some who couldn't find a seat spread out their bags on the floor and slept on them.

"It's the weather, what can we do?" asked Myre Maureen Harte, whose Florida flight had been delayed for 15 hours. "We should be compensated in some way for this."

Delays were averaging two hours at Newark-Liberty International, while the average arrival delay at Boston's Logan International was slightly more than an hour.

At Philadelphia International Airport, delays were two hours.

"It is imperative that folks check with their carriers," said Pasquale DiFulco, a spokesman for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

Flood warnings were issued for much of coastal Pennsylvania, Delaware and New York, including the cities of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and the greater New York metropolitan area.

Some roads had already flooded in the New York metro area by Sunday afternoon. Flooding was reported in Lodi, New Jersey, where the Saddle River overflowed near Route 46, causing several businesses to be evacuated, including a funeral home, police said.

Flooding was also reported in Macungie, Pennsylvania; Wilmington, Delaware; Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania.; Elkton, Maryland; Hopatcong, New Jersey; Swarthmore, Pennsylvania; Camden, New Jersey; Lindenwold, New Jersey; Brass Castle, New Jersey; and Edgewater Park, New Jersey, the National Weather Service said. (Watch footage of flooding on the East Coast and West Virginia Video)

In coastal areas of New England, 4 inches to 6 inches of rain were possible, the Weather Service said.

New York's heavy rain and winds will ease Sunday night and by Monday, Boston and coastal Massachusetts will experience high tides and coastal flooding, the weather service said. Winds of 25-35 mph are expected to decrease as the day progresses.

By Monday evening, coastal Maine could experience hurricane-force wind gusts.

Interior sections of New England will not be spared. In northern Vermont and New York, accumulations of 1 to 2 feet of heavy, wet snow are possible.

To the south, a cold front will continue to trigger severe thunderstorms, a few capable of producing isolated tornadoes along coastal sections of Virginia, the Carolinas, Georgia and Florida.


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A man looks at floodwaters and a flooded gas station in Mamaroneck, New York, on Sunday.

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