Historic Rainfall Soaks Eastern Seaboard

RALEIGH, N.C. - A massive rainstorm drenched the East Coast from the Carolinas to Maine on Thursday, causing at least four deaths, flooding roads and washing away months of dry weather. The worst of the rain fell in North Carolina, where Jacksonville picked up 12 inches - nearly a quarter of its typical annual rainfall - in six hours. Four people, including two children, were killed when the sport utility vehicle they were traveling in skidded off a rain-slicked highway and tumbled into a ditch filled with water, North Carolina troopers said. The rain was part of a system moving ahead of the remnants of Tropical Storm Nicole, which dissipated Wednesday over the Straits of Florida. Much of the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast were starting to enter a drought, and the storm provided several inches of much-needed rain. In Walpole, N.H., Erin Bickford said the deluge was a welcome sight for her eight acres of vegetables. She said she hoped the moisture also would recharge wells that went dry in the town. "We had almost no rain at all," Bickford said. "Often, we could see it raining across the river, but it didn't come here. It was just dust."