A storm system that already unleashed tornadoes in the American South has moved north and could cause mudslides and flash floods in New York.
Tropical Depression Fred wreaked havoc earlier in the week on Florida, Georgia, North Carolina and other states – leaving 37,000 people without power on Wednesday in North Carolina and West Virginia.
It also led to highway closures and at least one death in Florida after a driver hydroplaned and flipped into a ditch near Panama City.
Rich Otto, a National Weather Service meteorologist, told the Associated Press that rainfall “was forecast to range from 2-4 inches (5-10 cms), with some spots of 6 inches (16 cms), across a swathe from Pennsylvania to New England through Friday.
“The bigger threat is probably just the chances of flooding and widespread flood watches that are in effect right now,” he told AP.
Schools were closed and people evacuated along three rain-swollen rivers in far eastern Tennessee, AP reported.
“The areas around the Pigeon, French Broad and Nolichucky Rivers have become unsafe,” Cocke County Mayor Crystal Ottinger said in an order posted to Facebook late Tuesday. Four shelters opened.
People, animals and cars were rescued in the southern states while the northeast braced for possible devastation.
Transylvania County Chairman Jason Chappell, a lifelong resident of the North Carolina region, told AP “it was the most intense flooding he’s seen in at least 20 years, and that he fears more damage to come. Floodwaters swamped a local factory Monday with several inches of water and damaged its parking lot.
“It really caught everyone off guard,” Chappell said. “No one was forecasting that amount of rain.”
Fred is just one of several storms brewing off the US coast during peak hurricane and storm season.
AP contributed to this report