ORLANDO, Fla. – Tropical Storm Fred weakened to a Post Tropical Cyclone and spawned several apparent tornadoes in Georgia and North Carolina on Tuesday as it dumped heavy rains into the Appalachian mountains along a path that could cause flash floods as far north as upstate New York.
One death was reported — a Las Vegas man whose car hydroplaned near Panama City, Florida, Monday night and overturned into a water-filled ditch, the Florida Highway Patrol said.
Fewer than 30,000 customers were without power in Florida and Georgia after the storm crashed ashore late Monday afternoon near Cape San Blas in the Florida Panhandle. Emergency crews were repairing downed power lines and clearing toppled trees in Fred’s aftermath. Some schools and colleges in Florida, Alabama and Georgia canceled Tuesday’s in-person classes due to the storm.
One of the region’s major attractions, Grandfather Mountain State Park, closed on Monday. The North Carolina state park’s website said “trails are flooded and the water at stream crossings (is) dangerously high.”
At least six apparent tornadoes touched down in Georgia: One hit Americus, in the southwestern part of the state, damaging at least a dozen homes and an apartment complex. One hit Jeffersonville, near Macon, tearing metal siding off a sporting goods warehouse, knocking over a semitruck trailer and tossing around small boats, according to the National Weather Service. One destroyed a mobile home in Banks County, northeast of Atlanta, officials reported.
Heavy rains drenched parts of metro Atlanta just before dawn Tuesday, snarling commutes.
One weather station near Panama City, Florida, recorded almost 9 inches (23 centimeters) of rain in two days.
Grace turned into a Hurricane on Wednesday. Grace lashed earthquake-damaged Haiti as a tropical depression on Monday, dumping up to 10 inches (25 centimeters) of rain that pelted people huddling under improvised shelters in the aftermath of Saturday’s 7.2 magnitude earthquake, now blamed for more than 1,400 deaths.
Grace’s sustained winds grew to 80 mph Wednesday afternoon as it made its way westward on a path between southeastern Cuba and Jamaica. Forecasters said it could be near hurricane strength as it approaches Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula Thursday morning. It was about 125 miles (205 kilometers) east-southeast of Tulum Mexico.
A hurricane warning is in effect for Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico from Cancun to Punta Herrero, including Cozumel.
Tropical Storm Henri, meanwhile, was about 280 miles (260 kilometers) southwest of Bermuda. The small tropical cyclone had 70 mph winds and was expected to circle widely around the island, the hurricane center said.
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