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Lee dumps rain on New Orleans

SAUCIER, Mississippi (AP) - The massive Lee storm system dumped more than a foot (30 centimeters) of rain in New Orleans and spawned tornadoes elsewhere before it weakened to a tropical depression, but forecasters warned Monday that slow-moving rain clouds pose a flooding threat to inland areas.

One man died, swept away by floodwaters spawned by the remnants of Tropical Storm Lee in Mississippi, the first reported so far as a direct result of the steady rains dumped by Lee, authorities.

Lee's remnants were expected to continue to march to the northeast. Areas of Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi near the coast reported scattered wind damage and flooding on Sunday, while New Orleans levees and pumping system were doing their jobs.

National Hurricane Center specialist Robbie Berg said Lee's flash flood threat could be more severe as the rain moves from the flatter Gulf region into the rugged Appalachians.

Closer to the Gulf, the water is "just going to sit there a couple of days," he said. "Up in the Appalachians you get more threat of flash floods."

Elsewhere, Hurricane Katia gained force as it moved across the Atlantic Ocean.

By late Monday morning, Katia's maximum sustained winds had increased to 110 mph (177 kph). That makes Katia a strong Category 2 storm, and the U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami says it's possible Katia will get even stronger as the day goes on.

Hurricane specialist Todd Kimberlain says it's looking less likely that Katia will hit land but that wind from the storm could still affect the U.S. East Coast as it moves north. Kimberlain also says the Mid-Atlantic and New England regions should still keep an eye on Katia.

Katia is centred about 540 miles (869 kilometers) south of Bermuda and is moving northwest near 13 mph (21 kph).

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Published September 05, 2011 at 5:36 pm (Updated September 05, 2011 at 5:36 pm)

Lee dumps rain on New Orleans

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