Hurricane Irene never packed the catastrophic winds of more famous tropical storms, but by the time its remnants finally blew into Canada Monday, it had proved to be a slow killer, leaving behind a vast swath of shattered communities and dozens of fatalities.

After churning up the Eastern seaboard and then pounding the suburbs of New York City, where the storm made landfall as a weakening hurricane Sunday morning, Irene unleashed torrential rains in Vermont. Rivers overflowed their banks, washed out roads and bridges in every county of the state and isolated thousands of residents. Three people were known to have died in floodwaters, and another was missing.

By early Tuesday, at least 46 deaths had been attributed to the storm, stretching from North Carolina to Vermont. The rising death toll puts Irene among the 30 deadliest hurricanes in U.S. history.

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