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Irene damage not as bad as expected
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MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) — Vermont towns battled floods of historic proportions, utility crews struggled to restore power to 5 million people along the East Coast, and big-city commuters coped with transit-system disruptions Monday as the rainy remnants of Hurricane Irene finally spun into Canada.The storm killed at least two dozen people, forced the cancellation of about 9,000 flights, washed away roads and bridges and toppled trees and power lines.It never became the big-city nightmare forecasters and public officials had warned about, but it caused severe flooding in New England, well inland from the coastal areas that bore the brunt of the storm's winds.In Vermont and upstate New York, normally placid streams turned into raging torrents tumbling with tree limbs, cars and parts of bridges.President Barack Obama, speaking from the Rose Garden, pledged the federal government would be doing everything in its power to ensure people have what they need to get back on their feet, saying it will take time to recover from the storm.Across the Northeast, commuters coped with slowly restarting transit systems as the workweek began.In New York City, limited bus service began Sunday and subway service was partially restored at 6 a.m. Monday. Commuter rail service to Long Island and New Jersey was being partially restored, but trains from the city's northern suburbs were suspended because of flooding and mudslides. New Jersey Transit rail service into the city was suspended as crews assessed storm damage and made necessary repairs.Riders were warned to expect long lines and long waits, but early commuters reported empty subways and smooth rides.Irene smashed power poles, ripped transmission wires and flooded electrical stations over the weekend, blacking out more than 7.4 million homes and businesses from South Carolina to Maine.