More rain, flooding for already drenched East Coast

NEW YORK Mon Aug 15, 2011 3:20pm EDT

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NEW YORK (Reuters) - An unstoppable conveyor belt of rain drenched the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic on Monday, adding to record-breaking precipitation that triggered flood watches and a local state of emergency at the start of the workweek.

Severe weather in the Northern Plains was also predicted, with flooding downpours, wind gusts greater than 60 miles per hour and large hail possible from the northern Rockies through the Dakotas and Northern Nebraska, said meteorologist Brian Edwards on Accuweather.com.

Texas, gripped by triple-digit temperatures and in the midst of the worst drought ever, welcomed rain of up to six inches. But rain didn't come early enough in Parker County, known as the cutting horse capital of the world, where authorities said nine horses died of dehydration after being left out in temperatures over 100 degrees Fahrenheit without water, hay or feed.

"With the temperatures as high as they have been, it's imperative to keep fresh water and adequate food for any animal," said Parker County Sheriff Larry Fowler, who said investigators were weighing possible criminal charges.

On the East Coast, rain that pummeled the area on Sunday continued into Monday. Flood watches were issued for New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, according to the National Weather Service.

A state of emergency was in effect Monday in Pittsgrove Township in Salem County, New Jersey, which had received 11 inches of rain since the storm began on Sunday, according to Mayor Linda DuBois.

Fire engines were used to evacuate two families from submerged homes, a dozen washed-out roads were closed and a dry lake was suddenly brimming, she said.

In Bridgeton, New Jersey, a dam was breached at Seeley Lake, and water rushed into the Cohansey River, flooding nearby streets, said Todd Bowen, fire battalion

chief.

That was after rainfall records were shattered across the area on Sunday, including at John F. Kennedy International Airport, which had the wettest day on record with 7.80 inches, smashing the 1984 record of 6.27 inches, said meteorologist Meghan Evans on Accuweather.com.

"Nearly twice the normal monthly rainfall was delivered in one day," Evans said of the New York City area.

Rain records were set throughout the mid-Atlantic on Sunday, including Newark with 6.4 inches (old record 1.1 inches set in 1999) and Philadelphia with 4.8 inches (1.7 inches in 1977).

On Monday, puddles resembling ponds swamped roadways across Staten Island and other New York boroughs, submerging cars, their roofs like turtles' backs barely peeking above the surface.

No major delays were reported at New York, New Jersey or Philadelphia airports.

Flooding was caused by the slow moving storm as well as parched soil from an otherwise dry summer, making it difficult for rainwater to easily penetrate the hard ground, weather experts said.

There had also been flood watches in effect in the Washington, D.C., area on Sunday, and thunderstorms and heavy rains lashed parts of the region on Sunday night.

Further south, the rains ushered in cooler temperatures to South Carolina, which has stayed in 90s for months but basked in the 80s on Monday with water temperatures in Charleston at about 86 degrees.

(Reporting by Barbara Goldberg; Additional reporting by Dave Warner; Editing by Jerry Norton)

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