Storms batter both coasts; death toll at 19

PRINCETON, W. Va. (AP) — Nasty weather battered the nation from coast to coast Thursday, with a powerful storm pelting northern California, strong winds slamming the East Coast and snow blanketing an area from Ohio to North Carolina.
As northern California residents dealt with a Pacific storm that blew in Thursday, two more were hovering offshore.
In the East, a storm stomped its way north, flooding streets, stranding travelers, forcing people to evacuate their homes and leaving tens of thousands without power. It also has dumped plenty of snow inland.
Nineteen deaths have been attributed to the East Coast storm since Monday, including five in accidents on snowy roads in Kentucky, and two in Indiana. Two men died when the roof caved in under 11 inches of snow at a recycling plant in Princeton, W.Va. In South Carolina, a pregnant woman drowned when her car plunged into a swollen creek.
The storm brought tornadoes to southern Florida on Monday before churning to the north, hammering the coast from Georgia to New Jersey with heavy rain and winds as high as 75 mph.
Many roads were snowpacked, and hundreds of motorists were stranded — some up to 18 hours — in a 12-mile traffic jam in the westbound lanes of Interstate 40 in Tennessee. About 600 people went to shelters.
A 20-car freight train heading to Roanoke, Va., derailed Thursday morning after floodwaters from the Maury River swept away an 80-foot section of track. The two-man crew managed to swim out of the river and neither was hurt. Crews worked to remove the derailed cars and clean up diesel fuel spilled in the crash.
At least 20 house fires broke out in southeastern Virginia after flood waters spread into homes and soaked oil heaters, sparking the blazes. No one was hurt.
Floodwaters up to 4 feet deep along New Jersey’s coast forced authorities to close nearly all the access routes to Atlantic City, Ocean City, Wildwood and other beach towns early Thursday.