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Heavy rains swamp Central Florida

Oct. 10, 2011 at 10:42 AM   |   Comments

ORLANDO, Fla., Oct. 10 (UPI) -- Weekend storms extended into Monday in Central Florida, zapping power, triggering flooding and creating hazardous road conditions, officials said.

About 1,200 customers in several counties were affected by what meteorologists called a hybrid howler that moved through Central Florida, the Orlando Sentinel reported.

Saturday's 6.16-inch rainfall recorded at Orlando International Airport bested the previous record of 3.29 inches set in 1954, said Tony Cristaldi, a National Weather Service senior meteorologist.

"That's a lot of water," Cristaldi told the Sentinel.

Officials throughout Central Florida reported standing water on highways and streets. CSX workers and Orange County had to repair portions of the railway that washed away Sunday in an industrial area near the Orlando International Airport, the Sentinel said.

"Everyone in Central Florida got at least four inches, but the coast got higher amounts," Cristaldi said.

The howler -- an area of low pressure with some tropical characteristics -- was expected to impact Florida and surrounding Southeastern states before spreading torrential rainfall through the East this week, AccuWeather.com reported.

"The satellite and radar pattern around this storm does not look characteristic of a pure tropical storm," said Dan Kottlowski, expert senior meteorologist. "Instead this is probably more of a hybrid or subtropical storm."

Jacksonville, Fla., Savannah, Ga., and Charleston, S.C., are some of the cities that could be at risk for flash flooding from the downpours, forecasters said. Winds could reach 40 mph through Tuesday over northern Florida, and along and near the Georgia and Carolina coasts.

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