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Texas Tops 10 States Ravaged by Extreme Weather in 2011

No. 10 New Jersey

Tropical Storm Irene slammed into the Garden State flooding rivers, destroying roads and knocking out power for half a million people.  Credit: Brendan McDermid/Reuters. 

Hurricane Irene roared into New Jersey to become one of the state’s deadliest and costliest storms, as well as the state’s wettest storm in more than a century. Tropical downpours sent rivers and streams overflowing, with nine rivers rising to their highest level ever. The flooding closed 300 roads and highways and interrupted train service for days.

The bill for hurricane damage in New Jersey stands at $1.4 billion already, and at least seven people died during the storm. Then, two weeks later, a second round of drenching rain — the remains of Tropical Storm Lee — swept across the state, triggering even more flooding. All told, it was the wettest August and September New Jersey has seen in 117 years.

Just as the Garden State began to dry out, a freak autumn snowstorm hit over the Halloween weekend. The wet, heavy snow stuck to leaves that hadn’t fallen from the trees. The result: falling branches that blocked roads and downed power lines, leaving half a million people without electricity — some of them for days. 

Correction: An earlier version of this story contained references to April flooding in Nashville, TN. This flooding occurred in 2010, not 2011. Also, the National Weather Service rated the Apison, TN tornado as an EF-4 on the Enhanced Fujita Scale, not an EF-5 as previously indicated. 

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