Hurricane Irene Body Count Up to 21 - NewsChannel5.com | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

Hurricane Irene Body Count Up to 21

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Bedford, Mass. Sunday, August 28, 2011 (AP Photo/ Winslow Townson) Bedford, Mass. Sunday, August 28, 2011 (AP Photo/ Winslow Townson)

WASHINGTON- As of Sunday evening, Hurricane Irene had swept over the east coast and killed at least 21 people. The numbers are continuing to grow. Speaking from the Rose Garden Sunday afternoon, President Obama said the public is still at risk of flooding and power outages. He is urging people to continue to listen to the guidance of their state and local officials in the coming days.

With lives lost in Connecticut, Florida, Maryland, Virginia, New York, New Jersey, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania, Irene has damaged more than land. The National Hurricane center says that Irene's maximum sustained winds have dropped to 50 miles per hour as it crosses New England. Irene is expected to drop below tropical storm strength later Sunday.

In Florida, Frederick Fernandez, 55, died Saturday off of New Smyrna Beach after he was tossed off his board by massive waves caused by Irene. The Orlando Sentinel reports the high school teacher had a large cut on his head, apparently from hitting the sea floor.

Making its way up the east coast, North Carolina deputies out of New Hanover County on Sunday afternoon recovered the body of Melton Robinson, Jr., who had been missing since falling or jumping into the Cape Fear River as storms from Irene reached North Carolina on Friday night.

And in Queen Anne's County, Maryland, Anne Bell, 85, was killed when a tree knocked a chimney through the glass roof of the sunroom where she and her son were sitting. They had gone out into the sunroom after the power went out in her Queenstown home. Bell was struck by debris, causing severe trauma.

Just recently, Celena Sylvestri, 20, of Quinton, New Jersey called her boyfriend and then 911 early Sunday. According to police, she said she needed help getting out of her flooded car in Pilesgrove. Her body was found eight hours later in the vehicle, which was about 150 feet off the road, police said.

The storm is centered south of Rutland, Vermont and is moving north-northeast at about 26 mph. Forecasters expect it to reach Canada later Sunday or early Monday.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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