Weakening storm still a threat
RALEIGH, N.C. — The first named storm of the Atlantic hurricane season brought heavy rains but no major damage to the Southeastern United States on Friday, as it moved swiftly up the East Coast with flooding threats for as far north as New England.
After bringing rain, strong winds and even tornadoes to Florida on Thursday, Andrea was losing its tropical characteristics on Friday even as it packed maximum sustained winds of 45 mph.
Tropical storm warnings remained in effect for North Carolina and southern Virginia, the National Hurricane Center in Miami said at 5 p.m. Friday. The storm's low-level center was losing definition but remained a threat to the East Coast while “evolving into a low-pressure center,” said Darin Figurskey, a National Weather Service meteorologist in Raleigh.
The storm was centered in eastern North Carolina about 55 miles northeast of Raleigh and moving toward the Northeast at nearly 30 mph.
Forecasters say Andrea could bring high winds, heavy rainfall, and localized coastal flooding through Saturday across the mid-Atlantic states and New England. Rainfall accumulations of 2 to 4 inches are possible along the Eastern Seaboard into coastal Maine, the hurricane center said. Winds near gale force are possible along the coast from Virginia to Canada through Sunday.
Cities in the Mid-Atlantic region and Northeast were bracing for the storm. New York City activated its flash flooding plan, while a flash flood watch was issued for Southeastern Pennsylvania. The rainy weather washed out events such as NASCAR's Sprint Cup qualifying and the Washington Nationals' Friday night home game.
Authorities in Virginia blamed heavy rain from the storm's outer bands for a fatal accident on Interstate 77 in the state's western mountains. William Petty, 57, of Lexington, S.C., died when a car in which he was a passenger hydroplaned while passing a tractor-trailer. He survived the crash, only to be killed moments later when the car was struck by second tractor-trailer, authorities said.