Relentless rains lead Va. gov to declare emergency

AP News
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Posted: Nov 11, 2009 10:10 PM

Virginia's governor declared a state of emergency Wednesday as unrelenting rain from the remnants of a tropical storm soaked the state, while officials in North Carolina braced for another day of heavy rain.

Gov. Tim Kaine's declaration mobilizes state agencies to prepare for the threat of flooding over a wide swath of Virginia.

The National Weather Service forecasts 3 to 8 inches through Friday morning for parts of Virginia as the remains of Tropical Storm Ida, which was once a hurricane, crawl across the state. Old Dominion University in Norfolk canceled classes Thursday.

A coastal flood warning was posted for some areas thanks to a storm surge coinciding with high tide. A flood watch is out for central, eastern and southeastern areas farther inland.

Kaine's declaration urges Virginians in tidal flood plains and areas prone to flash flooding to be on alert.

Heavy rains were falling in North Carolina, Maryland and Delaware. In North Carolina, the eastern two-thirds of the state was braced for another day of significant rain. Gale warnings were out from North Carolina to New Jersey.

National Weather Service meteorologist Phil Badgett said heavy rainfall is expected east of a line from the Triad to the Research Triangle area and down to Wilmington. With strong, gusty winds expected, Badgett said falling trees could be a threat.

Raleigh had reported 4.25 inches of rain from daybreak Tuesday through 8 p.m. Wednesday. In the mountainous western part of the state, Asheville got nearly 4 inches.

Alabama also reported some impressive rainfall totals from the storm, which dumped 9.8 inches on Opelika and more than 6 inches near the coast in Baldwin County and in parts of central Alabama. Birmingham recorded 4.32 inches on Tuesday, a record for that date, according to the weather service.

Ida came ashore at Dauphin Island early Tuesday.

"For Alabama it's over," said Scott Unger, meteorologist at the NWS in Calera. "We've just got a couple of clouds left over."

He said the totals for the most part were what was expected and had no reports of significant flooding.

In Georgia, weather service meteorologist Verona Murrell said the rains have stopped, but officials are watching rivers and streams that have risen above flood stage. Many areas of Georgia, including Atlanta, saw 4 to 6 inches of rain over the last couple days.

"We've got several sites that are in flooding and quite a few places that have flood warnings out," Murrell said.