Flood watches were in effect for much of the Northeast Monday, as potentially deadly flash flooding was reported in the Rhode Island towns of Providence and Cranston, according to the National Weather Service.
Although no injuries were reported in the area, a number of roads were closed Monday afternoon, including a section of Interstate 95 and Route 10 – one of the main arteries entering and leaving Providence.
Up to four inches of rain had already fallen in some areas by late afternoon and further flooding was possible.
“Heavy rain forecast for several more hours,” Rhode Island State Police tweeted. “Please stay home if you can, but if you must go out, exercise caution and do not enter flooded areas or large puddles.”
Gov. Dan McKee said he had a flash flood briefing with emergency officials on Monday afternoon.
“We urge Rhode Islanders to avoid unnecessary travel,” the governor tweeted. “Our crews are clearing the drains on 95, 10 and 6 to reopen the roads. The RISP strives to escort disabled vehicles safely off the road.
Among the areas hardest hit by the storms this weekend was northwest Georgia, where 12 inches of rain fell in some places, forecasters said.
Flooding has disrupted water service in parts of Georgia’s Chattooga County, where the school system has halted classes for the next two days, authorities said.
“Our primary focus right now is to get our water situation back in hand,” said Earle Rainwater, owner of Rainwater Funeral Home in Summerville and Chattooga County coroner.
“Without water you can’t do anything,” he said on Monday. “We don’t have any water other than bottled water and what’s in the streams.”
Georgia Governor Brian Kemp declared a state of emergency in Chattooga and Floyd counties on Sunday. This directed all state resources to assist with “preparedness, response, and recovery activities.”
In Chattooga County, several people had to be rescued from their homes on Sunday, especially in lower areas of the county, Rainwater said. “They used Jon Boats, they used kayaks, they used anything that could float.”
Waves of downpours and storms are expected to develop in the region Monday as moisture from the Gulf of Mexico continues to flow into the south and northeast, the National Weather Service said. Some training storms — storms that drop several inches of rain as they move over the same areas as train cars — were also possible, the weather service said.
The risk of flash flooding has extended northeast into Pennsylvania, parts of southern New England and the New York area, the weather service said. Radar showed a strong band of storms moving northeast just inland from Pennsylvania through Rhode Island and Massachusetts.
Parts of Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, Kentucky, Virginia and West Virginia were under flash flood watch through Monday evening. Rhode Island, Connecticut and parts of Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Maine remain under flash flood watch through Tuesday.
In Georgia, church pastors and volunteers planned to distribute water Monday in the small towns of Summerville and Trion, according to the Chattooga County Emergency Management Agency.
“We’ve never had anything like this before,” Summerville Mayor Harry Harvey said.
After touring the community’s flooded water treatment plant on Monday morning, Harvey said, “Things aren’t as bad as we thought, or as bad as they could be.
Workers were on site Monday to assess the damage. By late Monday or early Tuesday, “we should have a much better assessment of what needs to be done,” Harvey said.
The Chattooga County school system will be closed Tuesday and Wednesday due to flooding, Superintendent Jared Hosmer said.
“Without water, we can’t flush the toilet, wash our hands, drink from fountains or cook lunches,” Hosmer said Monday when announcing the decision.
Chattooga County, about 145 kilometers northwest of Atlanta, is home to about 25,000 people.