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North Carolina drenched

Western North Carolina was one of the hardest-hit areas in the southeast Friday as remnants of Hurricane Ivan swirled across the eastern United States.

BY SUSAN KIM | BALTIMORE | September 18, 2004

Western North Carolina was one of the hardest-hit areas in the southeast Friday as remnants of Hurricane Ivan swirled across the eastern United States. Rain was continuing to fall across the mid-Atlantic Saturday morning, and flood damage is predicted to worsen in that region.

Up to a foot of rain fell in North Carolina's western mountains, leaving damage in at least 16 counties, state emergency management officials reported, though they had no firm numbers of residential damage by Saturday morning. Some of the most severe damage appeared to be in Buncombe and Henderson counties. Residents there clocked winds of 60 mph and more.

Western North Carolina was hard hit by Hurricane Frances earlier this month.

In the Piedmont area of North Carolina, a tornado cut a path through western Guilford and Rockingham counties, destroying five homes and damaging 54 others, according to county emergency management officials. Flood damage around Raleigh, N.C., was also reported.

In West Virginia, more than 3,000 people were evacuated when flash floods, mudslides and tornadoes struck. A tornado caused residential damage in Berkeley County, emergency management officials reported, and by Saturday evening, hundreds of homes were damaged by flooding in that state.

In Maryland, Harford County and Cecil County saw tornadic winds on Saturday that damaged several homes.

Also in Maryland, a tornado tore the roofs off two houses in Frederick County Friday, and at least two more confirmed twisters struck the area. Other tornadoes touched down in that state, causing scattered damage.

Maryland was under a flood watch through Saturday.

The National Weather Service warned that the Potomac River in Maryland would overflow its banks by Sunday morning in Allegany County, downstream from Oldtown, mainly due to heavy rains Friday in parts of Virginia and West Virginia. Maryland Emergency Management Agency spokesman Ed McDonough said flooding also was possible along the Susquehanna River.

Maryland's western mountains were especially vulnerable to flooding as up to 6 inches of rain were expected to fall through Saturday.

In four western Pennsylvania counties, record rainfall prompted widespread evacuations.

In eastern Ohio, about 1,500 residents of Belmont County were out of their homes on Saturday, and some 2,700 were told to boil their tap water, according to reports from the Ohio Emergency Management Agency.

In New York, a mobile home park had to be evacuated because of flooding in Ravena, some 13 miles south of Albany.

Seven inches of rain had fallen in Georgia by Friday morning, and by Friday evening, parts of that state could see 14 inches of rain. At least 22 counties had reported flood damage by Friday morning. Damage spanned both metro Atlanta and more rural areas. In Atlanta, Peachtree Creek crested at nearly 6 feet above flood stage. The Chattahoochee River, which cuts across the metropolitan area, saw its second-highest level since the Buford Dam was built more than 40 years ago to prevent floods.

The hurricane's remnants also prompted flood warnings in 34 east and middle Tennessee counties, where forecasters predicted up to 7 inches of rain. In the eastern Tennessee town of Spring City, floodwaters blasted through the business district, breaking out storefront windows and carrying away store merchandise.

The National Geological Survey Office in Louisville issued a landslide warning for the entire state of Kentucky, which, like many other states, has already been saturated by Tropical Storm Frances.

Thousands of people were without power Saturday morning as they tried to clean up.

Ivan was blamed for 70 deaths in the Caribbean and at least 40 in the United States, 16 of them in Florida.

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