Tropical depression Claudette continues with heavy rain in southeast region, NHC says

Tropical Storm Claudette forms and makes landfall

Once Claudette nears the North Carolina coast late Sunday and early Monday, its winds are likely to intensify, and gusts could reach or even exceed 40 to 50 miles per hour.

As of Sunday morning, Tropical Depression Claudette took a total of 12 lives in Alabama.

Heavy rains caused high water levels in the metropolitan areas of Birmingham and Tuscaloosa from late Saturday to early Sunday.

Meanwhile, almost two dozen people were rescued by boat in Northport, Alabama, due to flooding, WVUA-TV reported.

The Alabama Emergency Management Agency warned the threat of flooding and tornadoes will continue throughout the night. And Captain Brian Harrell of the Birmingham Fire Rescue Team told the press that a search for a man who might have been flooded is underway.

Claudette is now forecast to trek across SC on Sunday, arriving in North Carolina on Sunday night.

Maximum sustained winds for Claudette reportedly remain at around 45 mph with higher gusts and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 205 miles east from the center.

"A turn toward the east-northeast is expected tonight and Sunday", NHC forecaster Jack Beven said. A tropical storm watch was issued South Santee River, South Carolina, to the Little River Inlet, forecasters said.

Northern Georgia, a large portion of SC, the North Carolina coast, parts of southeast Alabama, and the Florida Panhandle all have flash flood watches for Sunday, the Associated Press reported.

The National Hurricane Center declared Claudette organized enough to qualify as a named storm at 4am on Saturday, well after the storm's center of circulation had come ashore southwest of New Orleans.

Tornadoes are possible tonight across southeast Alabama, the western Florida Panhandle, and southwest Georgia.

Sheriff Heath Jackson estimated that at least 50 homes had been "pretty much" demolished by the storm, which also toppled trees onto houses and ripped the roof off a nearby school gym.

"It affected everyone", Jackson said.

There were no immediate reports of serious injuries or deaths.

The damage caused by the storm was also felt in northern Florida, where winds (sometimes reaching 85 miles per hour (137 kph)) rolled over 18-wheeled vehicles.

Danny Gonzales, right, stands in front of his flooded house with his neighbor Bob Neal, upset with power company trucks driving though the flooded neighborhood pushing water back into his home, after Tropical Storm Claudette passed through, in Slidell, La., Saturday, June 19, 2021. The storm then fell on the Florida Panhandle and a large area of Alabama, quite inland.

Forecasters said the system could still dump 2 to 4 inches (5 to 10 centimeters) of rain in the region, with isolated accumulations of 8 inches (20 centimeters) possible.

Separately, the tropical cyclone Dolores landed on the west coast of Mexico with forces close to a hurricane. As of Sunday morning, it had dissipated over Mexico.

Heavy rainfall of 6 to 10 inches (about 15 to 25 centimeters) was expected throughout the weekend in the southwestern and western coastal areas of Mexico. Forecasters were warning of the potential for flash flooding and mudslides.

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