Charley's Rain Hits Mass., Maine as Storm Moves Out to Sea

The disorganized remnants of Hurricane Charley (search) dropped rain across the Northeast and whipped up choppy seas Sunday as the weakening weather system sped off toward the North Sea (search).

The storm that took more than a dozen lives, knocked out power to 2 million and caused billions of dollars in damage in Florida had lost so much strength that it was little more than an inconvenience in New England (search).

Up to 3 inches of rain fell on eastern Massachusetts, and Boston's waterfront docks and outdoor cafes were nearly empty as some cruise lines cut back or canceled tours. Wind blew at a sustained 39 mph on Cape Cod as the storm swept past, and standing water on roads slowed traffic in some areas.

Offshore swells up to 6 feet high led Massachusetts Bay Lines (search) to cancel four weekend whale-watching tours that normally would have drawn some 500 customers, tour manager Debbie Hazell said.

"That was an exceptional hurricane to stretch all the way up here," Hazell said.

In oceanfront Rockport, north of Boston, wetsuit-clad surfers ignored the rain as they paddled off Long Beach to ride modest waves.

By midday, Charley's sustained wind was down to about 35 mph as it headed northeastward toward the Canadian Maritimes and the North Sea, moving at about 29 mph, the National Hurricane Center said.

Norfolk, Va., measured 3.72 inches of rain Saturday -- a record for the date -- and wind gusts up to 45 mph, the National Weather Service said. Standing water closed some streets during the night in the Norfolk and Newport News areas.

Dominion Virginia Power said 29,000 customers lost electrical service in its service area in southern Virginia and northern North Carolina.

Capt. Jeff Hall of the James City County (Va.) Fire Department called Charley "the storm that wasn't" in Virginia.

"We had everything all fired up and ready to go, and it was nothing," Hall said.

Other utilities serving eastern North Carolina said Charley knocked out power to about 34,000 customers Saturday. About 65,000 homes and businesses were blacked out in South Carolina.

A new weather system spread rain across the eastern Carolinas on Sunday, causing problems in low-lying areas, but some residents were more concerned with cleaning up the damage caused by tornadoes that spun off Tropical Storm Bonnie on Thursday. The twisters were blamed for three deaths.

Maryland and New Jersey largely escaped damage from Charley on Saturday, but the storm's steady rain chased vacationers off the states' beaches.

"After Isabel last year, it's nice to have a break once in our direction," Ed McDonough, a spokesman for the Maryland Emergency Management Agency. Isabel, which made landfall near Ocracoke Island, N.C., on Sept. 18, was blamed for 40 deaths and $2 billion in damage, much of it from flooding.