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Rain from tropical depression batters East Coast

From the CNN Wire Staff
A house in Carolina Beach, North Carolina, after Tropical Storm Nicole on September 30.
A house in Carolina Beach, North Carolina, after Tropical Storm Nicole on September 30.
  • NEW: The American Red Cross has opened seven shelters in North Carolina
  • Rain is flooding streets, felling trees and causing major airport delays
  • Flood warnings and watches extend from the Southeast to Maine
  • Planes bound for New York's JFK Airport are averaging delays of nearly five hours

(CNN) -- Parts of the Eastern Seaboard were battered by rain from a weakening tropical depression on Thursday, with more flood-causing precipitation expected as the storm moves north.

Rain from the tropical depression, which was downgraded from Tropical Storm Nicole on Wednesday, has left city streets under water, stranded vehicles, sent scores of people to shelters and caused major delays at airports along the East Coast.

Wilmington, North Carolina, has received 20.47 inches (520 mm) of rain this week -- a new record for rain in a three-day period for the city -- while flood watches and warnings extend northward into Maine.

In Norfolk and Portsmouth, Virginia, many streets are flooded, as are stretches of Interstate 264, according to CNN Virginia affiliate WAVY 10. Some in the area are without power because of downed lines.

Beaufort County, North Carolina, is under a curfew until 6 a.m. Friday because of the flooding, mostly to keep traffic off roads.

"Every major transportation route in the county suffers a nearly impassable condition at specific locations," said County Manager Paul Spruill, who said the rain there was expected to stop soon.

The county had seen about 11 inches of rain from Sunday till midday Thursday, then got hit with 4 to 6 more inches Thursday afternoon. Fifty people are in a county shelter, Spruill said.

In Onslow County, North Carolina, there have been four water rescues and about 40 people are in a temporary shelter, according to Deputy Director of Emergency Services Norman Bryson.

In Carolina Beach, North Carolina, a lake overflowed and flooded downtown, with video from CNN affiliate WRAL showing one person kayaking through the streets.

The American Red Cross has opened seven shelters in North Carolina for those displaced by floods, the group said Thursday.

The weather caused airport delays in Mid-Atlantic and Northeastern states Thursday evening, with flights to New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport delayed an average of nearly five hours, according to the Federal Aviation Administration.

The FAA said rain, wind, and low visibility were to blame for delays of more than an hour-and-a-half for planes bound for New York's La Guardia Airport, New Jersey's Newark International Airport and Boston, Massachusetts' Logan International Airport.

Flood watches and warnings were in effect for Thursday night into Friday for all or major parts of Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine, according to the National Weather Service.

Wind gusts of up to 50 miles per hour are expected in parts of New Jersey, New York and Connecticut, the National Weather Service said.

The rain will move out of the Mid-Atlantic Thursday night and out of the Northeast throughout Friday, but not before dropping an additional 4-6 inches (100-150 mm), according to CNN Meteorologist Taylor Ward.

CNN's Shawn Nottingham and Taylor Ward contributed to this report