RICHMOND, Va. – Relentless rain drenched much of the Atlantic seaboard Thursday, pelting communities from North Carolina northward with gusty winds and heavy rains, inundating streets and stranding drivers in hard-hit Virginia.
The downpours were the continuing aftermath of late-season Tropical Storm Ida, which quickly weakened once it made landfall on the U.S. Gulf Coast on Tuesday but still soaked a swath from Alabama to Georgia.
In Virginia, Gov. Timothy Kaine declared a state of emergency and officials urged people in some areas to stay home. Rain and resulting floods were predicted to continue at least through Friday, especially along the state's southeastern coast.
Dominion Power reported more than 25,000 customers without electricity Thursday in Virginia and North Carolina, with more than 16,000 of them in southeast Virginia.
The Norfolk Naval Station and all other area Navy installations, Langley Air Force Base and Fort Eustis trimmed operations down to essential personnel, officials at the bases said.
Meanwhile, Coast Guard officials continued searching for three commercial fishermen whose boat sank in churning seas off the coast of New Jersey. There were no serious problems elsewhere in the state.
In North Carolina, where thousands of residents lost power at some point during the deluge, flood warnings were posted from the mountains to the coast, with trees down and some roads closed.
In South Carolina, state health officials blamed the heavy rains for overwhelming sewage plants in the Columbia area, dumping some raw sewage into three rivers.
In suburban Atlanta, streets and yards that border the Chattahoochee River filled with water as the river spilled over its banks from the rain. The area is still waterlogged from historic flooding in September, which swamped homes and businesses.
In Delaware, power outages were reported and at least two inches of rain had fallen in parts of the state. Some low-lying areas already flooded, and wind gusts were as high as 55 mph.