A foot or more of rain fell in parts of the Northeast, forcing hundreds of people from their homes during the night, rupturing small dams and flooding roads.
No injuries had been reported in the stricken areas of New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Maryland, but at least one woman had a harrowing rescue.
Tammy Spiese was trying to clear debris on her property near Reading, Pa., when rising water carried her into a drainage pipe. She had to be pulled out by her husband and a police officer.
"I was in the water up to my neck," Spiese said. "It was very powerful and I had to hold onto the rocks above."
South-central New Jersey was hardest hit with at least five small dams rupturing during the night, said Kevin Tuno, the Burlington County emergency management coordinator. Many of the dams in the area hold small reservoirs in low-lying residential areas.
"We have a lot of houses and vehicles that were damaged," Tuno said Tuesday.
The heaviest rainfall in Burlington County was 13.2 inches at Tabernacle, the National Weather Service (search) said. Gov. James E. McGreevey (search) said Tuesday he plans to declare a state of emergency for the county.
More than 500 county residents were evacuated from their homes and from the roofs of cars stalled on flooded roads from late Monday into early Tuesday, and officials said 250 people still couldn't return home by late Tuesday morning.
"First they started with one family and then another family and then it rapidly escalated," Tuno said of the evacuations.
Parts of northeastern Maryland got up to 8 inches of rain that flooded streets and basements Monday, and some motorists had to be rescued when their cars stalled in deep water, officials said.
Most of the water had subsided by Tuesday morning and major roads were reopened, said Harford County official Ernie Crist. However, more than two dozen roads remained closed Tuesday in Cecil County, said Frank Muller, director of the county's department of emergency services.
Amtrak (search) canceled three trains and reported many delays on other passenger trains between Washington and Philadelphia throughout the day Monday. Poor visibility and water flowing over the tracks forced trains to slow to just 2 mph, or walking speed, at many locations, spokesman Daniel Stessel said.
Amtrak's worst problems were in southeastern Pennsylvania at Marcus Hook and Levittown, where trains had to be halted because of signal problems caused by fallen trees, Stessel said.
An estimated 6 inches of rain fell in eastern Pennsylvania's Berks County, where firefighters used a boat to rescue three people and a dog trapped in two homes by Manatawny Creek, which rose about 4 feet in minutes.
Water and mud rushed into a bowling alley Monday at Pottsville in eastern Pennsylvania after a sodden embankment behind the building collapsed, and custodian John Bova and his wife hurried to open doors to let the flood out. Then they shut off the electricity and fled, he said.
"The mountain just came down," Bova said. "We were lucky to get out."