TS Ernesto makes second landfall

Tropical Storm Ernesto made landfall in North Carolina Thursday night, bringing with it heavy rains and strong winds.

BY HEATHER MOYER | BALTIMORE | September 1, 2006

Tropical Storm Ernesto made landfall in North Carolina Thursday night, bringing with it heavy rains and strong winds.

Much of the Eastern seaboard is being drenched as now Tropical Depression Ernesto moves north at 15 miles per hour, according to the National Hurricane Center (NHC). Some areas in North Carolina and Virginia reported wind gusts as high as 72 miles per hour when Ernesto came ashore.

The storm's maximum sustained winds now are 35 miles pher. Storm Warnings remain in effect for parts of coastal Virginia and North Carolina, as do Flood Watches, Flood Warnings and Tornado Watches.

The NHC expects Ernesto to slow down as it continues over land, which could bring major flooding problems to parts of the eastern U.S. Rainfall totals of four to eight inches are expected, with some isolated areas possibly receiving up to 12 inches. Additionally, another three to five inches of rain is expected in North Carolina. According to the NHC, "these rainfall amounts could cause life-threatening flash floods and mudslides."

As the storm's bands move through the states, isolated tornadoes are possible. Forecasters are also warning of storm surge flooding some three to five feet above normal tide levels along the coasts of North Carolina, Virginia and Maryland.

This is Tropical Storm Ernesto's second landfall. Earlier this week the storm came ashore in south Florida, where it also dropped significant rainfall. The Florida Division of Emergency Management reports Ernesto rainfall totals of four to seven inches across Florida - with some flooding possible as rainfall continues into this weekend.

Two people died in car accidents in Florida during the storm. Little to no damage was reported in the state, with government agencies noting that the many blue tarp roofs remaining on homes due to 2005's Hurricane Wilma survived Ernesto.

As Ernesto continues its move north, many residents in West Virginia, Pennsylvania and New York remain anxious. Heavy rains caused severe flooding in Penn. and New York earlier this summer, and parts of West Virginia are very flood-prone during heavy rains. Ernesto's projected track has it moving north through these states and Ohio this weekend.

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