Parts of the Southeast braced for flooding Monday as the aftermath of Tropical Storm Erika brought drenching downpours.
The National Weather Service warned people in flood-prone areas of Florida to “take action to protect [their] property” after moisture was drawn northward following the storm that killed 20 people in the Caribbean last week.
There could be “significant flooding of streets” in the Sunshine State, the NWS said, with rip currents causing dangerous boating conditions off the coast.
Flash flooding and gusty winds were also possible, forecasters warned.
In Charleston, South Carolina, a flash-flood warning was issued after five inches of rain per hour were dumped just in time for Monday’s morning commute. The NWS warned that “flash flooding is imminent.”
Rain was lighter in downtown Charleston but “heavy rain was poised to rush onshore” and tide levels were rising, the national forecaster said.
Flood watches and warnings were issued across most of the Florida peninsula — excluding the panhandle — but the affected area was reduced before 7:30 a.m. ET. Flood watches issued in southeastern Georgia were also lifted.
Heavy rain began in some areas on Sunday, with minor street flooding reported in the Florida cities of Gainesville and St. Augustine. The rain was set to continue at least until Monday night and possibly Tuesday morning, according to the NWS.
Although the forecast deluge may sound like a welcome reprieve for parts of southern Florida currently experiencing drought, the heaviest rain could be enough to trigger serious flash flooding, according to The Weather Channel.
In the Caribbean, hard-hit countries were still tallying the damage wrought by Erika.
At least 20 people died in Dominica after 13 inches of rain fell in as many hours, and causing what the country’s prime minister called “monumental” destruction.
In Puerto Rico, 200,000 people lost power and millions of dollars in crops were destroyed. Mudslides blocked roads in Haiti, where a prison was evacuated and rain appeared to have caused fiery truck crash killing four people and injuring 11 others.
Meanwhile, Hurricane Fred formed in the Atlantic early Monday and was moving closer to the Cape Verde Islands, which lie 400 miles off the western coast of Africa.
The islands have issued what could be their first ever hurricane warning, according to The Weather Channel, but there is no indication the storm will come close to North America.
In the Pacific, Hurricane Ignacio was churning towards Hawaii but had begun weakening Sunday morning. The NWS has issued high-surf warnings and watches around the islands.