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Hurricane Danny Remnants Bring Heavy Rains to...

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CHARLOTTE (AP) — Hurricane Danny's remnants sparedrain-saturated Charlotte and lurched across North Carolina'sheartland today, drenching Raleigh with 2 inches of rain andoutlying areas with up to 8 inches.

As Charlotte authorities started packing up their emergencyheadquarters this morning, officials across north-central NorthCarolina were monitoring the slow-moving system as it dumped up to2 inches of rain an hour.

The storm hit the Raleigh-Durham area during the morning rushhour, flooding some low-lying intersections. No injuries werereported. In neighboring Johnston County, high winds blew downtrees near Benson, one of them damaging a residence, said KimRobertson, the county's mitigation recovery coordinator.

The National Weather Service issued flash flood warnings fornorth-central North Carolina as the storm pushed on a northeasterlytrack through the area. A tornado watch was posted for northeasternNorth Carolina until this afternoon.

The storm brushed past Charlotte Wednesday night, and emergencymanagement officials there breathed a sigh of relief. EarlierWednesday, another storm system spawned by Danny's remnants dumpeda record 6.55 inches on Charlotte.

``Everything is calming down we think,'' Bart Massey, emergencymanagement coordinator for Mecklenburg County, said today. ``Wethink the weather is going to give us a break. We're looking tostart closing down here in the not too distant future.''

More than 6 inches of rain fell in Charlotte Wednesday, causinga motorist's death and the collapse of a railroad bridge overLittle Sugar Creek. The lead locomotive of a 90-car CSX coal trainplunged into the creek after the three-person crew evacuated. Twoother cars derailed.

A 5-year-old girl identified in broadcast reports as ArielLinton reportedly was swept away in a swollen creek and remainedmissing today. Four companions were found safe.

``She tried to grab her sister's leg ...her sister tried to grabher, but (the water) was too strong and it took her down,'' saidWilliam Hatchcock, a friend of Ariel's family.

About 2,000 people were evacuated in Mecklenburg County, andmore than 60 people stayed Wednesday night at shelters set up attwo Charlotte schools.

The 6.55 inches that officially fell by 11 p.m. Wednesday was aCharlotte record for a 24-hour period. The previous record, 5.91inches, was set in July 1944. Parts of Charlotte got as much as 8to 9 inches.

Barbara White Freeman, 59, of Gastonia died Wednesday afterbeing trapped by floodwaters after her car flipped over whiledriving down a downtown Charlotte street, emergency officials said.

A Charlotte sewer plant also was flooded by Irwin Creek, andofficials estimated 17 million gallons of wastewater mixed with therising waters.

In Moore County, a motorist had to swim out of his car Wednesdaywhen floodwaters caught him in a low-lying spot, said GeorgeGullickson of the county emergency management office.

``He had to roll down his window and swim to a bank. When he gotto the bank, his car was completely submerged,'' he said.

In the mountains, a section of an Ashe County state road will beclosed for a week due to the flash flooding, officials said.

The bad weather closed Paramount's Carowinds south of Charlottealong the North Carolina-South Carolina border late Wednesday forthe first time during the park's season since Hurricane Hugo in1989.

By PAUL NOWELL,Associated Press WriterCopyright ©1997 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or distributed.