Saco, Maine, April 17, 2007Residents stand in front of collapsed homes on the verge of being washed out to sea after a severe nor'easter pummeled the East Coast last weekend.
The deluge poured more than 8 inches (20 centimeters) of rain in some regions and has been blamed for at least 18 deaths so far. As of Thursday afternoon thousands of businesses and homes from New Jersey to Maine were still without power.
Nor'easters are fairly typical in the U.S. Northeast, often causing coastal erosion and flooding, although only a few storms ever gain enough power to create damage further inland. The systems are named for the driving northeasterly winds that pull warmer air up the coast to mix with colder Arctic winds from Canada, creating the storms.