Hurricane Lili and the remains of Tropical Storm Marco locked pincers on the South on Friday with a combination of powerful winds, heavy surf and drenching rains. At least 10 people have died in the storms.
Lili had lurked off the shore of North Carolina, a weakling among hurricanes, spinning harmless 8-foot waves into the Outer Banks. Its winds were clocked at 75 mph - barely over the hurricane threshold of 74 mph.But the convergence of Lili and Marco, plus the dying remnants of Tropical Storm Klaus, brought a third day of rain and dangerous flooding to parts of the coastal Southeast.
"We got so much rain, so fast . . . We've never had anything like this," said Pam Smith, director of the Richmond County Emergency Management Agency in Augusta, Ga., whose west side was swamped by floodwaters.
In South Carolina, where floods Thursday carried caskets out of a graveyard, state climatologist John Purvis said some places had the most rainfall in a century.
At the National Hurricane Center in Coral Gables, Fla., forecasters said Lili appeared to be veering to the north sooner than expected, decreasing the threat of a direct hit on the mid-Atlantic coast.
At 10:30 p.m. EDT Friday, Lili's center was near latitude 32.6 north and 72.2 longitude west, or about 265 miles southeast of Cape Hatteras, N.C. It was moving northwest at nearly 14 mph.
"It poses less threat to the East Coast now," said Herb White, of the National Weather Service in Raleigh, N.C. "Now it's projected to parallel the coast a little farther out."
Forecasters said gale-force winds could extend 75 miles inland along the route of the storm.
Tourists in North Carolina packed ferries to flee the Outer Banks, although the most noticeable signs of the storm were waves big enough to thrill surfers.
"I'm a little bit nervous, for my parents' sake," said Tom Sherer, 18, of Coinjock, N.C., who was riding a skim board on the waves. "They're sort of worried."
"Worried we're going to get hurt," added 16-year-old Mike Vernon of Currituck, N.C.
The real danger for the time being lay farther south, in Georgia, where four people drowned in rising floodwaters that ravaged the Augusta area. The floods were blamed on the remnants of Tropical Storm Marco, which blew north out of the Gulf of Mexico on Thursday.
The victims included an 80-year-old man who drowned as he and his wife struggled to leave their car at a flooded railroad track north of Augusta. Coroner Thomas King said the man was swept away in the floodwaters; his wife managed to escape.
Three people drowned in Jefferson County, about 50 miles southwest of Augusta, sheriff's Deputy Mark Williamson said.
On Thursday, three people drowned in South Carolina, while one person drowned and two died in storm-related traffic accidents in North Carolina.
In Augusta and surrounding Richmond County, officials closed all roads and declared a state of emergency, Ms. Smith said.
"All of our roads are flooded," she said. "People are trapped in their homes. People are hollering out for help through their windows. Some are on the rooftops. There are people in their cars floating down the road."
Emergency officials began evacuating families in the Augusta area early Friday morning.
Ms. Smith estimated that several hundred people had been moved from their flooded homes by boat or four-wheel-drive vehicles by afternoon. About 100 had been taken to a shelter, and the remainder stayed with friends or family, she said.
An estimated 52,000 students missed classes as schools in three counties closed. Augusta College canceled morning classes, and most city and county government offices closed.
At Appling, northwest of Augusta, 8.6 inches of rain was measured during a 24-hour period.
In western North Carolina, a rural one-lane bridge collapsed and a mudslide squeezed traffic to one lane on a nearby highway north of Lenoir. Authorities said no one was on the bridge when it collapsed.
Two emergency centers opened in North Carolina Friday night.