Weakened Andrea breaks Northeast rainfall records
Associated Press NEW YORK - The first named storm of the Atlantic hurricane season smashed rainfall totals across the Northeast and pushed some streams and creeks over their banks but sped up the Eastern Seaboard without causing major damage. A weakened Andrea shifted away from New England on Saturday morning with winds gusting up to 45 mph. The storm was expected to reach Canadian waters by Sunday. After bringing rain, strong winds and tornadoes to Florida, Andrea lost most of its tropical characteristics late Friday into Saturday. But it brought record rainfall for the date of June 7 for many cities and towns in the Northeast.Andrea dumped 6.64 inches of rain on Gales Ferry, Conn. The 4.16 inches that fell on New York City's Central Park was more than double the previous record for the date, set in 1918. The 3.5 inches of rain that fell at Philadelphia International Airport doubled the 1.79 inches that fell in 1904. Newark, N.J., saw 3.71 inches, breaking the previous mark of 1.11 inches set in 1931. Elsewhere, cars were submerged in floodwaters on Long Island, and about 50 residents were displaced by a rising stream in Chester, Pa. A retaining wall collapsed early Saturday in Manhattan's Washington Heights neighborhood, sending an avalanche of rubble sliding into an apartment building and leaving three families homeless. The storm was blamed for one traffic-related death in Virginia. Late Friday, the National Hurricane Center in Miami discontinued all tropical storm warnings but cautioned about possible coastal and localized flooding from New Jersey to New England. Officials in the Mid-Atlantic region and Northeast had prepared for it Friday night. New York City activated its flash flooding plan, and heavy rainfall resulted in flash floods, causing some sections of roadways to be closed throughout Long Island. A number of roads were flooded in the Boston area. A flight that left Boston on Friday night headed to Palm Beach, Fla., was diverted to Newark Liberty International Airport after being struck by lightning. No one was injured. The weather service reported that small streams and creeks in southeastern Pennsylvania were going over their banks Friday night. New York City's airports experienced flight delays, and Connecticut reported numerous lane closures on highway as cars spun out amid heavy rain. The rainy weather washed out events such as NASCAR's Sprint Cup qualifying in Pennsylvania's Poconos and MLB games in Washington, New York and Boston. The heavy rain from the storm's outer bands was being blamed by authorities in Virginia for a fatal accident on Interstate 77 in the state's western mountains. William Petty, 57, of Lexington, S.C., died after 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 a second tractor-trailer, authorities said. In Chapel Hill, N.C., heavy rains forced the forced the postponement of Friday's NCAA super regional baseball series opener between No. 1 seeded North Carolina and South Carolina until Saturday. A second game between N.C. State and Rice in Raleigh was also postponed. In Florida, the weather service estimated that feeder bands from Andrea's remnants dropped more than 9 inches of rain on eastern Miami-Dade County and more than 6 inches of rain on eastern Broward County on Friday. In Cuba, days of torrential rains associated with Andrea caused rivers to jump their banks in the western province of Pinar del Rio. More than 3,300 people evacuated endangered homes, and nearly 1,000 acres (4,000 hectares) of croplands suffered "serious damage," state-run newspaper Juventud Rebelde said Friday. Rain was forecast to continue falling on already waterlogged areas through Saturday. Contributing to this report were Associated Press writers Kiley Armstrong in New York; Michael Rubinkam in Allentown, Pa., Lisa Rathke in Montpelier, Vt., Samatha Henry in Newark, N.J., Michael Melia in Hartford, Conn., Michael Felberbaum in Richmond, Va., Michael Biesecker, Emery P. Dalesio and Aaron Beard in Raleigh, N.C.; Bruce Smith in Charleston, S.C.; Jack Jones in Columbia, S.C.; Jennifer Kay and Kelli Kennedy in Miami; Gary Fineout and Brent Kallestad in Tallahassee, Fla.; and Peter Orsi in Havana.