Danny weakens, douses eastern seaboard with rain
Posted August 29, 2009 4:44 p.m. EDT
Updated August 29, 2009 10:12 p.m. EDT
Boston — A weakening Danny, downgraded from a tropical storm to a depression, doused parts of the eastern seaboard with heavy rain Saturday and churned up dangerous rip currents that produced a second straight late-summer weekend of dangerous surf.
Meanwhile in the Pacific, Hurricane Jimena rapidly intensified Saturday, quickly becoming a Category 1 storm with maximum sustained winds of 80 mph (130 kmh) off Mexico's southern coast.
Jimena, the 10th named storm of the Pacific season, was expected to become a major hurricane by Sunday as it tracked north-northwest along the Mexican and southern Baja California peninsula coasts.
Danny spun miles offshore in the Atlantic, causing mostly a rain event in the East.
In Boston, heavy rain from the remnants of Danny fell on hundreds lining sidewalks as the funeral procession of Sen. Edward Kennedy passed through the city. A flood watch remained in effect for parts of Massachusetts as beaches were ordered closed and public ferry services in and around Boston were canceled. Cape Code and nearby islands were expecting 40 mph winds later Saturday.
"We getting a number of reports of two to four inches of rain in the area," said Kim Buttrick, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Taunton, Mass. "Wind isn't a factor now, but a wind advisory is in effect for the islands until this evening."
Towns along the Connecticut shore were prepared for the storm and had sandbags and water pumps placed on standby.
Large waves kept most people out of the water at beaches along the New Jersey shore Saturday, the second straight weekend marred by a tropical storm system.
Waves as high as 6- to 8-feet were reported up and down the Jersey coast by late Saturday morning, and forecasters said the waves could go slightly higher as the day progressed. But those conditions were expected to improve during the overnight hours into Sunday, when wave heights were expected to return to normal.
No injuries were reported, although authorities in Fair Lawn, N.J., rescued nine people trapped in five vehicles along a flooded street.
Still, National Hurricane Center forecasters said Danny had been mostly absorbed by a low pressure system associated with a cold front over North Carolina.
"We were expecting that that was going to happen sooner or later. It happened a little bit sooner," said senior hurricane specialist Lixion Avila. "Basically Danny has been swallowed by the big low."
In North Carolina, tropical storm watches for the coast were discontinued, but people were urged to be cautious near the water.
The dangers of storm-agitated seas were demonstrated when a young boy disappeared Friday in rough surf off North Carolina. His mother reported seeing him go underwater off the town of Corolla, not far from the Virginia line. His body board washed ashore without him.
The Coast Guard and local authorities spent hours looking for the 12-year-old boy but called off the search Friday evening and didn't expect to continue searching Saturday.
Coast Guard spokesman Lt. j.g. Scott Hembrook said the waves in the area were about 4 to 6 feet tall.
In New York's Long Island, Nassau County's health department closed 20 beaches Saturday because of heavy rainfall. Suffolk County closed two beaches and advised against bathing at 64 more.
Storm water runoff often leads to sewage discharges and elevated bacteria levels on Long Island sound.
Health officials say the beaches will be reopened once tidal cycles have flushed the area.
Also in the Pacific, a tropical depression formed far out to sea with winds of 35 mph. It was swirling 1,010 miles (1,625 km) southwest of Mexico's Baja California peninsula. It wasn't likely to threaten land.