MIAMI, Sept. 4 (UPI) -- Tropical Storm Lee was demoted to a tropical depression Sunday night but U.S. forecasters said it was still packing a wet and windy punch.
The center of the storm was about 55 miles west-southwest of McComb, Miss., and 60 miles east-southeast of Alexandria, La., at 10 p.m. CDT, the National Hurricane Center in Miami said. Lee was whipping up sustained winds of 35 mph with higher gusts as it headed to the east-northeast at 7 mph.
While all coastal tropical storm warnings had been canceled, the forecasters said Lee was expected to dump 10-15 inches of rain across the central gulf coast region through Tuesday. Some areas could get up to 20 inches.
The Tennessee Valley and southern Appalachian Mountains are expected to receive 4-8 inches, with isolated pockets getting as much as 10 inches.
All that rain makes flooding a strong possibility, the forecasters said.
"The water's up," Sheriff Newell Normand in Louisiana's Jefferson Parish told The (New Orleans) Times-Picayune. "The anxiety is up. The folks are just sitting here watching the water rise and wondering when it's going to stop."
Tornadoes were a possibility Sunday night and Monday over portions of southern Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama, as well as the Florida Panhandle and extreme southwestern Georgia.
A storm surge of more than 2 feet was recorded just south of Morgan City at Amerada Pass. A storm surge of as much as 3 to 5 feet were expected over portions of southeastern Louisiana and central portions of western Mississippi.
Oil and gas activities in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama were suspended out of flooding concerns, CNN said.
Far to the northeast, heavy rain and flash flood warnings were issued in Vermont and northern New York state, associated with the effect Lee was having on the continental weather pattern, forecasters said.
The region, still recovering from Hurricane Irene that brought disastrous flooding, could get as much as 4 inches of rain.