Forecasters say the drenching rain is winding down in the Northeast, but the worst of the widespread flooding is yet to come.
President Obama has signed an emergency declaration for Rhode Island where flood waters have reached historic levels.
The storm has soaked all corners of what is known as the Ocean State, pushing rivers over their banks, closing roads and schools.
Police and fire officials went door-to-door to evacuate Rhode Islanders from their flooded homes.
"The fire department couldn't get to because the apparatus was too low. We backed the truck up to the door," Providence patrolman Joseph Iannucci said. "We took about 18 people out on Valley Street."
Crews worked overnight to stack sandbags. Officials said it is the worst flooding in the state in 100 years, and it is expected to continue.
"We're in unprecedented area right now in terms of the impact of the amount of water that we are absorbing and the flooding," said Gov. Don Carcieri, R-R.I.
The storm is the second to drench the East coast in less than a month. Flood warnings are in effect from New York City to Boston.
Gov. Deval Patrick, D-Mass., declared a state of emergency as rivers rose toward flood stage.
"We're expecting flood waters to rise very quickly, as I've said before," Patrick said. "So my message to the public is the same: exercise extreme caution."
Forecasters said the storm made this the wettest March on record in many places, making for a long and expensive recovery for states already hit hard by the recession.