Nicole Kills 12 in Jamaica; Remnants Drench East Coast

By | September 30, 2010

The remains of Tropical Storm Nicole battered the U.S. Atlantic Coast like a hurricane as it moved from the Carolinas to New England on Friday.

Nicole was a minimal tropical storm for just six hours Wednesday, but the broad, ragged system poured heavy rain on Jamaica, the Cayman Islands, Cuba, south Florida and the Bahamas before continuing its northern path.

The death toll from the storm rose Thursday to 12 in Jamaica and four in the United States.

The storm’s remnants were moving up the U.S. East Coast and brought gusting winds, pounding surf and coastal flooding to the region.

“The effects will be similar to that of a hurricane from eastern North Carolina to New England,” private forecaster AccuWeather said in an advisory.

“The soggy ground and high winds will cause fully leafed trees to easily topple and soggy branches to fall, taking power lines with them.”

The system dumped heavy rains along much of the East Coast as it moved north in a narrow column, with parts of Maryland receiving more than 8 inches of rain, while areas in Connecticut saw two to 3 inches of rain.

Total rain in parts of Pennsylvania, including Lancaster, exceeded 5 inches, according to the National Weather Service.

The storm spelled delays at John F. Kennedy and Newark International airports of as much as five hours, with arrivals at JFK hardest hit.

Flood watches and high wind warnings remained in effect for much of the U.S. Northeast through Friday morning.

Forecasters said the worst of the storm would move through New York City around dawn, snarling the morning commute for millions.

Four people died in eastern North Carolina after their vehicle hydroplaned on a highway and went into a canal, according to the Washington County Sheriff’s department.

In mountainous Jamaica, three days of torrential rain from the system caused flash flooding that killed a dozen people. Eight more were missing and feared dead.

Schools were closed for a second day on Thursday and villages across the Caribbean island reported serious damage to roads, houses, bridges, crops and livestock.

Nicole was the 14th named storm of the six-month Atlantic-Caribbean hurricane season, which runs through Nov. 30.

(Reporting by Chris Michaud in New York, Jane Sutton in Miami, Horace Helps in Kingston and Gene Cherry in North Carolina; Editing by Doina Chiacu and Paul Simao)

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