Remnants of Jeanne flood parts of Georgia and the Carolinas |

Remnants of Jeanne flood parts of Georgia and the Carolinas

Missing panels can be seen on the Vehicle Assembly Building at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla. Tuesday, Sept. 28, 2004. The combined impact of hurricanes Frances and Jeanne on the VAB caused some 850 panels to be torn loose. (AP Photo/Peter Cosgrove)

Remnants of Jeanne flood parts of Georgia and the Carolinas

Three deaths in South Carolina, Virginia


Associated Press Writer

ALBANY, Ga. – Heavy rain from the remnants of Jeanne flooded low-lying areas, uprooted trees and loosened the earth at a cemetery in south Georgia, washing coffins from the ground. Three deaths were blamed on the storm in South Carolina and Virginia.

Jeanne, downgraded from a hurricane after cutting a swath of destruction through Florida over the weekend, steered north Monday evening as a tropical depression, spawning tornadoes and flash floods across the Deep South.

The weakened weather system moved over Virginia on Tuesday, dumping as much as 12 inches of rain and turning roads to rivers. Some homes there were evacuated as rivers jumped their banks, and heavy rain extended through the Appalachians and mid-Atlantic states.

Buildings and other property was damaged by winds whipped up by tornadoes Monday in parts of the Carolinas, and thousands of households lost power in Georgia and North Carolina.

In South Carolina, forecasters said the fringes of Jeanne could produce treacherous rip currents and beach erosion along the coastline.

A man died early Tuesday after he was thrown from his mobile home by an apparent tornado Monday evening near Ridgeway, S.C., Fairfield County Chief Deputy Keith Lewis said. About a dozen people were taken to the hospital, where they were treated and released, he said. Five homes were destroyed.

Another man died late Monday when his car ran off a rain-slicked highway and struck a utility pole near Winnsboro, S.C. Another victim was recovered downstream from her home in Virginia, which had been washed off its foundation by floodwaters, Patrick County Sheriff David Hubbard said.

At 11 a.m. Tuesday, Jeanne was located about 20 miles southwest of Roanoke, Va., with highest sustained winds at 30 mph and moving northeast at 21 mph.

Emergency management officials in some Georgia counties reported that initial damage estimates from Jeanne were “three times as bad as Frances,” said Jennifer Collins, of the Georgia Emergency Management Agency.

Jeanne washed out dozens of roads, damaged a courthouse roof and downed trees in hard-hit Charlton County, which includes much of the Okefenokee Swamp.

A handful of coffins also were washed up in Folkston, Ga., when flooding hit a cemetery there.

“That sometimes happens, unfortunately, when we have flooding,” Collins said. “But authorities responded extremely quickly, identified the bodies and were notifying families.”

No injuries had been reported early Tuesday in North Carolina, where Gov. Mike Easley declared a state of emergency and activated National Guard troops.

At least six possible tornadoes spun out ahead of the storm swept down parts of buildings, flipped cars and toppled trees and power lines in central North Carolina. In Southern Pines, more than 100 buildings were damaged, according to initial reports.

Much of western North Carolina got between 3 and 5 inches of rain overnight, said National Weather Service meteorologist Harry Gerapetritis.

The state already had been hit this year by the storms or remnants of the storms Alex, Bonnie, Charley, Gaston, Frances and Ivan.

“There were lots of roads that were badly damaged with the last two storms – Ivan and Frances – and those roads have been made worse,” Gerapetritis said.

Georgia’s Gov. Sonny Perdue also declared a state of emergency.

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