July 24, 2018 / 9:25 AM / a year ago

Heavy rains in eastern U.S. pose flood risks

(Reuters) - Heavy rains pummeled parts of the U.S. Southwest and mid-Atlantic on Tuesday, swelling floods that have forced evacuations, disrupted air travel and cut power.

Downpours were expected to continue for several more days from southern New York to northern South Carolina, with similar patterns seen further west in southeastern Colorado and northern New Mexico, the National Weather Service said.

About 23,000 homes and businesses were without power in a string of states from Pennsylvania to North Carolina early on Tuesday, Poweroutages.us reported.

Around Baltimore, officials had reported flooding after one inch (2.5 cm) of rain, the NWS said. Flood watches were in effect in other parts of Maryland, as well as parts of West Virginia, with minor flooding expected in North Carolina.

Airports in New York, Philadelphia and Washington experienced delays of up to three hours due to thunderstorms on Tuesday, according to the Federal Aviation Administration.

In northern Virginia, close to the nation’s capital, the NWS had briefly issued a tornado warning Tuesday.

Flood waters rushed through the streets in Santa Fe, New Mexico late on Monday, destroying homes and businesses and trapping motorists in vehicles as more than 3 inches (8 cm) of rain fell, the Albuquerque Journal newspaper reported.

Santa Fe opened an evacuation shelter had opened for displaced residents, Mayor Alan Webber said on Twitter late Monday, adding, “In the morning we’ll launch an all-hands effort to clear roads, repair damage, and clean up from floods.”

Slideshow (5 Images)

More storms were expected in New Mexico on Tuesday, and the NWS warned flash flooding remained a concern, particularly in areas that had recently been ravaged by wildfires.

Rescue crews used small boats to save people trapped in flooded vehicles across Pennsylvania, local media reported.

Hersheypark, the chocolate-themed Pennsylvania amusement park, was scheduled to reopen on Tuesday, a day after closing due to three days of heavy rains and flooding.

Reporting by Brendan O'Brien in Milwaukee, Additional reporting by Makini Brice in Washington; Editing by Scott Malone and Alistair Bell

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