Christmas Eve Storm Batters East

From Times Wire Services

A storm that blustered up the length of the East Coast on Saturday left thousands without power and littered highways and railroad tracks with tree limbs on one of the year's busiest travel days.

The storm was blamed for at least two deaths. The South Carolina Highway Patrol said a 25-year-old woman was killed when her car skidded through water and struck a tree, and another woman drowned after she was struck by a vehicle during the storm.

High wind knocked over the 50-foot Christmas tree outside the Prudential Center in Boston. Crews waited for the wind to die down before trying to put it back up.

Winds gusted above 80 m.p.h. during the night on Massachusetts' Nantucket Island, where some commuter flights were canceled. Winds up to 70 m.p.h. thrashed trees in Connecticut, where about 110,000 homes were without power. Outages also affected thousands of homes in Rhode Island.

The Amtrak Night Owl from Washington to Boston was delayed Saturday morning near New London, Conn., because of trees on the tracks, a railroad spokesman said.

The storm slowed traffic at East Coast airports, causing delays for many holiday travelers.

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