TRENTON, N.J. -- Flooding from a weekend of rain forced thousands of people from their homes in New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania and closed the New Jersey State House yesterday.
Three people were missing after they were swept away by floodwaters in eastern New York State.
In New Jersey, where about 3,500 people were evacuated, acting Governor Richard J. Codey estimated that property damage would approach $30 million, close to the amount caused by Hurricane Ivan in September.
''The Delaware River is calling the shots right now," said State Police Superintendent Colonel Joseph Fuentes. The river was expected to crest yesterday, but it could take until the end of the week for the water to recede enough for people to return home.
Codey declared a state of emergency Sunday and barred nonessential state workers from Trenton yesterday. At one point, water was 6 feet deep in the bottom level of the State House parking garage, yards from the Delaware River.
In the hardest-hit areas along the Delaware, water lapped against roofs.
At a playground near the Pompton River, the water rose to a few feet below the level of a basketball rim. Some residents who had remained in their homes glided down the aptly named Island Street in rowboats, using snow shovels as paddles.
Along the Delaware, about 800 people were evacuated from their homes Sunday in Port Jervis, N.Y., where the three states meet.