Heavy rain, coastal hazards to persist in eastern US as Irma weakens

NEWYou can now listen to Fox News articles!

Despite weakening to below hurricane strength on Monday, Irma will still bring disruptive weather to much of the eastern United States through Tuesday.

“As Irma pushes northward, it will try to squeeze out every last drop as heavy rain Tuesday into Wednesday,” said AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Mike LeSeney.

Heavy rain and gusty winds left over from this storm will continue to batter parts of the Southeast, while also spreading into the southern Ohio Valley and southern mid-Atlantic by Tuesday afternoon.

The heaviest rainfall is expected to inundate northern Georgia, northeastern Alabama, South Carolina and southwestern North Carolina. While some areas could have as much as 8 inches of rain from Irma, most will receive 2-4 inches.

“Of particular concern will be the mountainous areas of these states where even lower rainfall amounts can lead to a significant flooding problem,” LeSeney said.

Localized flash flooding could lead to flooded buildings and road closures. Motorists should be careful not to attempt to traverse closed or flooded roadways.

While flooding is expected to be the main threat posed by Irma through Tuesday, coastal areas hundreds of miles from the center of the system will still feel its impacts.

Over the higher elevations of the southern Appalachians and along the shores of the Carolinas, gusty winds up to 45 mph will increase the chance of damage.

“Soil that becomes saturated due to heavy rainfall today may combine with stronger wind gusts to bring down some trees, power and utility lines,” LeSeney said.

Millions of customers are without power across Florida, Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina in Irma’s wake. This trend is expected to spread to coastal communities, where wind gusts will be strongest.

After prompting over 70 tornado warnings in Florida on Sunday, the threat of spin-ups within Irma’s rain bands has decreased significantly.

Even so, waterspouts and small tornadoes are not out of the question along the beaches of South Carolina and North Carolina through Tuesday evening.

Coastal flooding, rough surf and strong rip currents will also remain threats through midweek.