March 31st, 2010
07:19 AM ET

Worst not over for Rhode Island as flooding sets records

Battered by a major rainstorm that shut down roads, forced evacuations and prompted President Barack Obama to declare a state of
emergency, the tiny state of Rhode Island may be in for more misery Wednesday.

"We have some historic flooding going on in places we've never had flooding before. We have numerous streets that are closed and they're telling us the worst is still yet to come," said police Lt. Stephen Antonucci in Cranston, Rhode Island.

All eyes were on the Pawtuxet River, which runs through Cranston. The river stood at 20.64 feet as of about 7 a.m. ET - nearly 12 feet above flood stage of 9 feet. It is forecast to crest at 20.7 feet Wednesday morning, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Advanced Hydrometeorological Service.

The state shut down parts of Interstate 95 in both directions. And on Monday, Obama extended a state of emergency for the entire state - thus freeing up federal dollars to help with relief efforts.

The culprit is a major rainstorm that refused to leave after it formed Sunday night. It washed over the water-weary Northeast Tuesday, flooding much of the already saturated region but focusing its withering power on Rhode Island.

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