(Updates to include death of missing child)
By Ian Simpson
WASHINGTON May 1 Flood warnings were posted
across the eastern United States on Thursday after a powerful
storm system unleashed record amounts of rain from New England
to Florida, and as the death toll rose from ferocious storms
earlier in the week in the U.S. South.
The remnants of the storm that dumped up to 11 inches (28
cm) of rain in the Florida Panhandle on Wednesday had moved into
the Atlantic Ocean by early Thursday, said Dan Petersen, a
National Weather Service meteorologist.
"It's winding down pretty quickly," he said, but added that
northern Florida and Georgia could get another 2 inches (5 cm)
of rain before the system moved on.
Florida rescue teams took to boats to pull stranded
residents from the fast-moving floodwaters after 11 inches (28
cm) of rain pounded Pensacola and nearby Mobile, Alabama, on
The downpour added to the water levels of streams and rivers
already swollen from a tornado-generating system that killed at
least 35 people and injured hundreds in the U.S. South over a
period of three days. Alabama officials on Thursday estimated
damage in the state at close to $6.7 million.
And late Thursday, the Mississippi Emergency Management
Agency said that a child who had been missing in hard-hit
Winston County was dead. Tornadoes and other severe weather on
Monday resulted in 14 deaths in the state, the agency said.
Near Lake Charlene, Florida, state wildlife officers
evacuated a 92-year-old bedridden woman trapped by rising
waters, the wildlife agency said in a statement.
The rescue boat motor failed, so officers walked it down the
flooded street, loaded the woman into the boat on a backboard
and pushed her to an ambulance.
Severe storms in Florida were thought to have contributed to
an explosion and fire at a jail late on Wednesday that killed
two inmates and injured about 150 guards and other inmates.
Heavy rain in New Jersey, where a one-day record of 4.03
inches (10.24 cm) was set for Trenton, caused the Cooper and
Delaware rivers to overflow.
In Camden, New Jersey, water rose several hundred yards
(meters) onto the Delaware waterfront. Camden County rescue
teams had to help save several stranded motorists, county
spokesman Dan Keashen said.
"This was what we'd consider a five-year storm, but we're
getting these annually," he said.
Flood watches were in place throughout the Philadelphia
area, with numerous reports of road and bridge closings in
Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware.
Flood warnings were also posted around Washington and in
Connecticut, where Bridgeport set a single-day record of 2.5
inches (6.4 cm) of rain.
Parts of Laurel, Maryland, were under water after
authorities opened floodgates on Wednesday at a leaking Patuxent
River dam, the city said in a statement.
(Reporting by Ian Simpson, Richard Weizel in Connecticut,
Daniel Kelley in Pennsylvania, Barbara Liston in Florida and
Verna Gates in Alabama; Editing by Gunna Dickson, Sharon
Bernstein, Michael Perry)