VERO BEACH, Fla. – Janet Hettinger waited more than two days to return to her home on this city's barrier island only to be told she couldn't go inside. Hurricane Jeanne (search) had made it impossible.
"There's nothing to see any more anyway," the 81-year-old Hettinger said Tuesday, putting her pointer finger to her temple and pretending to pull the trigger.
The five-story condo where she lived was severely damaged by Hurricane Frances (search) early this month before Jeanne finished the job -- ripped off facing, tearing through walls and leaving aluminum siding dangling.
Rebuilding, if residents decide to, would take about three years.
"I don't know if I will live that long. I'm ready to call it quits right now," Hettinger said.
Thousands of residents waited in a mile-long line Tuesday to finally get a chance to see the destruction Jeanne meted out in Vero Beach (search). Condo owners like Hettinger fared the worst, while most of the single-family homes seemed to have made it through.
As it churned north, the storm's remnants dumped torrential rain and spawned tornadoes and high wind. Three deaths were blamed on the storms and damage was widespread.
The storm hit Virginia especially hard, dumping a foot of rain and killing a woman who drowned when she was swept from her mobile home. Flooding closed more than 200 roads in several counties. In Roanoke, rescuers ushered to safety 11 mill workers who became trapped by the Roanoke River.
The National Weather Service (search) was investigating a suspected tornado in Pittsylvania County, Va. "When I heard the train noise, I tried to get in the closet," said Joe McDaniel, whose mobile home was destroyed. "Five seconds later, I'm in a pile of rubble."
In western Maryland, nearly a half-foot of rain fell. Emergency workers rescued several people from vehicles stranded by high water, and turned around a loaded Frederick County school bus trapped by an eroding roadway.
The storms also spawned a tornado near New Castle County Airport in Delaware, the National Weather Service said. "It is a mess. Storms like this are not supposed to happen in Delaware," said Cpl. Trinidad Navarro, a county police spokesman.
Five cargo planes assigned to the Delaware Air National Guard were damaged, and one was tipped onto its wing, said guard spokesman Maj. Len Gratteri. Some 2,000 gallons of fuel also leaked from one of the planes.
Nine tornados have touched down in North Carolina since Monday, with most causing only minor damage, said Gov. Mike Easley (search). In South Carolina, a tornado killed one man while another died after his car ran off a rain-slicked highway.
The storm also spawned a tornado in southern New Jersey, damaging several buildings but causing no injuries, the weather service said.
In Philadelphia, a woman was killed after surging water swept her off a sidewalk and under a vehicle. About 400 people had to be evacuated from a commuter train after floodwaters appeared to be undermining the ground beneath the tracks, officials said.
Commuters stuck in a train surrounded by water had to be evacuated. And along the Schuylkill River, rising water washed a pedestrian under the wheels of a bus, but the injuries did not appear serious, officials said.
Around storm-battered Florida, more than 5,300 people were staying in shelters, nearly 1.3 million homes and businesses were without power, and at least one insurance company was seeking state help because it was overwhelmed with claims.
The emotional toll mounted, too. Gov. Jeb Bush announced that domestic violence reports were spiking in areas hit by the four hurricanes that have slammed Florida in the past six weeks.
"Nerves are frayed and frustration levels run high," Bush said. "The stress of rebuilding a home or business can be overwhelming."
The governor's brother, President Bush, was making his fourth visit Wednesday to Florida following a hurricane to tour a citrus grove in Lake Wales. The state's agricultural industry sustained an estimated $2 billion in crop damage from Hurricanes Charley and Frances. Ag damage from Jeanne hasn't yet been totaled.
Combined, Hurricanes Charley, Frances, Ivan and Jeanne have damaged more than one of every five Florida homes. The insurance industry was expecting claims this season to top 2 million, greatly exceeding the 700,000 claims filed 12 years ago in the aftermath of Hurricane Andrew, the nation's most destructive hurricane ever.
Tom Gallagher, who as Florida's chief financial officer oversees insurance regulation, estimated insured losses from this season's four storms at $18 billion, or $3 billion more than Andrew.
Last weekend, Jeanne killed at least six people in Florida. The havoc caused by the four hurricanes prompted the largest relief effort ever undertaken by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.