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Fay's remains spread rain, storms across South

The remains of Tropical Storm Fay raised the possibility Monday of thunderstorms, flooding and tornadoes across the South from Georgia through Alabama and Mississippi to southeastern Louisiana.
Image: Traffic passes through street flooding
Fay was blamed for one death in Alabama, where streets in Montgomery were flooded Monday by the tropical storm.Dave Martin / AP
/ Source: The Associated Press

The remnants of Tropical Storm Fay spread over a wide swath of the South on Monday, bringing heavy rain and wind as forecasters warned of possible flash flooding and tornadoes from Louisiana to Georgia.

The rain could be good news for some, including farmers looking for a break from a long-term drought that stretches from parts of Louisiana through the Carolinas into Virginia.

As Fay ebbed, a new tropical storm named Gustav formed Monday in the Caribbean. The National Hurricane Center in Miami said Gustav, with top sustained winds near 60 mph, was on track to hit the Dominican Republic and Haiti on Tuesday and then head over eastern Cuba.

In Florida, drenched by Fay last week, floods forced residents in northern parts of the state out of homes Sunday. Some homeowners started cleaning up Monday as water slowly receded in places, while others saw swollen rivers continue to rise.

Preferential flood help?
U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown was left defending flood help at her Jacksonville home after a city public works crew last week placed sandbags around the Democratic representative's home along the Trout River.

Neighbor Joe Deloach said he was upset that he didn't get the same assistance. Brown told television station WJXT that she had to call the city repeatedly to get the sandbags, like anybody else. Mayor John Peyton's chief of staff said the help for Brown was authorized because she was a single woman living alone.

Thunderstorms, flash flooding and isolated tornadoes were a possibility Monday from northwestern Georgia through Alabama and Mississippi to southeastern Louisiana, all due to remains of Fay, forecasters said.

In Georgia, a family member said Fay's winds knocked an oak tree onto the Plains home of former President Jimmy Carter late on Saturday. One of the former president's sons, Jeff Carter, said both his father and his mother, Rosalynn Carter, were at home at the time but neither was hurt.

The storm's remnants were likely to bring several inches of rain to Alabama, Mississippi, eastern Louisiana and Tennessee. Many hoped the storm could bring much-needed relief from a regional drought.

"We need something like this to recharge the soil. It probably won't be a total drought-buster," said National Weather Service senior forecaster Andy Kula in Huntsville, Ala.

Rain into North Carolina
Rain was also reaching western North Carolina's parched mountains. Meteorologist Doug Outlaw at the National Weather Service in Greer, S.C., said some areas of extreme southwestern North Carolina had gotten as much as an inch of rain as remnants of Fay moved in from northeast Georgia, where as much as 3 to 4 inches had fallen.

Fay made landfall a record four times in Florida before it was downgraded to a tropical depression late Saturday. The storm caused widespread flooding as it zigzagged across Florida for nearly a week.

Fay has been blamed for 13 deaths in the U.S., 11 in Florida and one each in Alabama and Georgia. A total of 23 died in Haiti and the Dominican Republic from flooding.

President Bush declared four hard-hit Florida counties disaster areas. The declaration makes funds available for emergency work and repairs to governments in Brevard, Monroe, Okeechobee and St. Lucie counties. More could be added later.