Tropical Storm Claudette: Sudden Flooding Increases in Southeastern United States | Weather News

Forecasters warned of life-threatening flash flooding in parts of the Deep South, particularly in central Alabama, as Tropical Depression Claudette swept through the coastal states on Sunday.

Ten people, including nine children, were killed on Saturday in a crash involving two vehicles, according to Butler County Coroner Wayne Garlock, who said the vehicles likely hydroplaned on wet roads. Butler County Sheriff Danny Bond said several people were also injured. The victims were not immediately identified.

Meanwhile, a 24-year-old man and a 3-year-old boy were killed when a tree fell on their home on Saturday just outside the city limits of Tuscaloosa, said Captain Marty Sellers of the Tuscaloosa Violent Crime Unit at The Tuscaloosa News. The sellers did not immediately identify the victims and a forensic doctor could not be reached early Sunday.

The deaths came as torrential rains swept over much of northern Alabama and Georgia on Saturday night. Up to 12 inches (30 centimeters) of rain was reported earlier from Claudette along the Mississippi Gulf Coast.

Debris covering the street in East Brewton, Alabama [Alicia Jossey via AP Photo]

A tropical storm warning was in effect in North Carolina from Little River Inlet to the town of Duck on the Outer Banks. A tropical storm watch was issued from South Santee River, South Carolina, to Little River Inlet, forecasters said.

Top winds remained near 30 mph (45 m / h). Forecasters from the National Hurricane Center predicted Claudette would strengthen again to tropical storm status on Monday over eastern North Carolina as she set out to sea in the Atlantic Ocean.

Flash flood watches were released on Sunday for northern Georgia, most of South Carolina, the coast of North Carolina and parts of southeastern Alabama and Florida.

More than 20 people have been rescued by boat due to flooding in Northport, Alabama, WVUA-TV reported. The Tuscaloosa County emergency management agency tweeted that local Red Cross volunteers were on hand to help those affected. A shelter has been opened in Northport.

Village Creek in Birmingham has passed the flood level at 13 feet (4 meters), the National Weather Service in Birmingham tweeted.

The system was located approximately 25 miles (35 kilometers) west of Atlanta. It was moving east-northeast at 13 mph (20 km / h), the National Hurricane Center reported on Sunday morning.

Claudette was declared sufficiently organized to qualify as a named tropical storm early Saturday morning, long after the storm’s center of circulation ran aground southwest of New Orleans.

Pickup trucks pass each other on the flooded road from Cedar Lake to Biloxi, Mississippi [Rogelio V. Solis/AP Photo]

Shortly after making landfall, an alleged storm-triggered tornado demolished or severely damaged at least 50 homes in a small town in Alabama, just north of the Florida border.

Escambia County Sheriff Heath Jackson said an alleged tornado “pretty much leveled” a mobile home park, knocked over trees on houses and ripped off the roof of a high school gymnasium. Most of the damage was in or near the towns of Brewton and East Brewton, about 48 miles (77 kilometers) north of Pensacola, Florida.

“It kind of affected everyone,” Jackson said. “But with these mobile homes built so close together, it can cost them a lot more than houses scattered around.”

Tornadoes have also been reported in southwest Georgia.

Storm damage was also felt in northern Florida, where winds – in some cases reaching 85 mph (137 km / h) – tipped an 18-wheeler truck onto its side.

A flooded neighborhood is seen after Tropical Storm Claudette hit Slidell, Louisiana [Gerald Herbert/AP Photo]

The storm also dumped torrential rains north of Lake Pontchartrain in Louisiana and along the Mississippi coast, inundating streets and, in some areas, pushing water into homes. The storm later inundated the Florida panhandle and, well inland, a large swath of Alabama.

Forecasters said the system could still dump 2-4 inches (5-10 centimeters) of rain in the area, with isolated accumulations of 8 inches (20 centimeters) possible.

Separately, Tropical Storm Dolores made landfall on the west coast of Mexico with near-hurricane force. By Sunday morning, it had dissipated over Mexico. Its remains had maximum sustained winds of 25 mph (35 km / h) and it was centered about 170 miles (275 kilometers) east of Mazatlan, Mexico.

Heavy precipitation of up to 15 inches (38 centimeters) was expected in coastal southwest and western Mexico throughout the weekend. Forecasters warned of the potential for flash floods and mudslides.

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