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Major storm battering Florida expected to slam East Coast, bringing hazardous winds and potential flooding rain

Cities along the East Coast are preparing for a major storm system expected to hit with torrential rain, high winds and severe thunderstorms.

The system battered Florida and South Carolina this weekend, and its impacts are expected to last through Monday.

The rain brought coastal flooding to into the Tampa Bay area on Saturday, according to the Tampa Bay National Weather Service.

Debris and palm trees blow in gusty winds and rain at Matheson Hammock Park in Coral Gables, Fla., on Friday, Dec. 15, 2023. Rebecca Blackwell / AP

More than 33,000 customers in the state were without power by noon Sunday, according to PowerOutage.us, but that number dwindled drastically as power began being restored.

Florida Power & Light Co., the state’s largest power utility, announced in an X post Sunday morning that its crews restored some power to customers overnight and will continue restoration efforts throughout the day. It urges residents to stay away from downed power lines and standing water.

More than 8,000 customers are also experiencing power outages in South Carolina as of Sunday. Its largest power provider, Santee Cooper, stated on X that its crews are working on the outages whenever it is safe to do so.

Dangerous flooding is developing across the lower South Carolina coast, including in Downtown Charleston, according to the Charleston National Weather Service, which has issued flash flood and coastal flood warnings. Tides in Charleston Harbor are also still rising — the highest tide on record not associated with a tropical system, the NWS noted.

The heavy rain has also led to several road closures downtown, and the Charleston Police Department urges drivers to stay off the roads if possible.

Videos taken from Myrtle Beach and Cherry Grove in South Carolina showed street flooding and strong winds. Storm chaser Andrew Elswick shared the videos on X, writing that the winds were shaking his car.

“Most places look like this,” he said in one of the videos. “The water’s coming up pretty high.”

In New York City, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority is preparing crews for heavy rain and high wind gusts expected to come Sunday night, which may necessitate the removal of any trees that fall across train tracks.

Starting 10 p.m. Sunday and lasting until 2 p.m. Monday, the MTA will ban empty tractor-trailers and tandem trucks on bridges and in tunnels.

The city has also issued a travel advisory for Sunday and Monday, warning of likely coastal flooding up to one or two feet by Sunday night.

“With significant rainfall and high winds predicted for this Sunday into Monday, we want to remind New Yorkers to be alert, keep checking the forecast, and stay prepared,” Mayor Eric Adams said in a press release. “If you have loose things outside, now is a good time to secure them, before the winds start. People in low-lying and poor drainage areas should take extra precautions.”



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