Lee Causes US Flooding and Tornadoes, Katia Strengthens

Posted September 6th, 2011 at 12:06 am (UTC-5)
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The slow-moving remnants of Tropical Storm Lee have dumped heavy rain across the southern United States and triggered tornadoes that damaged dozens of homes in Georgia, where more heavy rain is expected.

The tropical storm made landfall near the city of New Orleans, Louisiana on Sunday, flooding streets and recalling the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina six years ago. Lee dumped more than 30 centimeters of rain on Louisiana and Mississippi.

Although Lee was later downgraded to a tropical depression, its massive size and the amount of moisture it contains is of major concern to inland areas along the eastern U.S. coast.

The storm forced the temporary suspension oil drilling operations in the Gulf of Mexico, where workers were evacuated from offshore platforms.

Separately, Hurricane Katia is swirling in the open Atlantic Ocean and heading northwest. The National Hurricane Center said in its latest bulletin that Katia was a Category four storm on the five-point scale of hurricane intensity. The storm has winds of 215 kilometers per hour. Forecasters say the biggest threat continues to be life-threatening rip currents along the east coast of the U.S. and Bermuda during the next few days.

The month of September is considered the peak of the Atlantic hurricane season, which has already seen 12 named storms. The hurricane season began June 1 and ends November 30.