Tropical storm moves north

The remnants of Tropical Storm Gaston moved across Virginia on Monday, inundating the Richmond area with six to 14 inches of rain.

BY SUSAN KIM | BALTIMORE | August 29, 2004


The remnants of Tropical Storm Gaston moved across Virginia on Monday, inundating the Richmond area with six to 14 inches of rain. Parts of two major interstates - I-64 and I-95 - were forced to close.

Isolated tornadoes in Virginia were also sighted.

Earlier on Monday, Gaston moved across North Carolina with 35-mph winds, even as U.S. residents from Florida to North Carolina were told to monitor the progress of Category 3 Hurricane Frances.

Gaston made landfall in South Carolina on Sunday morning.

The small South Carolina community of McClellanville - brushed by the remnants of Hurricane Charley earlier this month - bore the brunt of Tropical Storm Gaston on Sunday as the storm made landfall with near-hurricane force winds of 70 mph.

As much as 10 inches of rain had fallen in some areas by Sunday afternoon. Hundreds of residents evacuated before the storm, most of them in Charleston and Georgetown counties.

South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford declared a state of emergency Sunday for the whole state, and, in a public statement, urged residents to stay in their homes until damage assessment crews, utility truck crews and debris removal crews could begin cleanup.

Some 125,000 people were without power by Sunday afternoon.

About 30 people had sought refuge in five shelters in coastal South Carolina as Gaston approached. Shelters were opened in at least one inland county, according to state emergency management reports.

The storm picked up speed as it made landfall, making flooding less of a concern than originally thought, according to state emergency management reports.

And Hurricane Frances was a Category 3 storm with 120-mph winds on Monday morning, causing hurricane watches to be posted in the British and northern U.S. Virgin Islands, including St. Thomas, St. John and the surrounding islands.

The National Hurricane Center urged people from Florida to North Carolina to closely monitor the progress of Frances, the Atlantic season's third major hurricane.

Meanwhile Tropical Storm Hermine - with 50 mph winds as of Monday morning - was 495 miles south of Chatham, Mass., and moving north at about 18 mph.


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