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Joaquin, Churning Toward Bermuda, Causes Massive Floods In U.S.

Residents walk through floodwaters in the historic district as Hurricane Joaquin brings heavy rain, flooding and strong winds as it passes offshore in Charleston, S.C., on Saturday. Flood warnings and watches were posted in several eastern states where more heavy rainfall was forecast.
Richard Ellis EPA/Landov
Residents walk through floodwaters in the historic district as Hurricane Joaquin brings heavy rain, flooding and strong winds as it passes offshore in Charleston, S.C., on Saturday. Flood warnings and watches were posted in several eastern states where more heavy rainfall was forecast.

Will Cunningham, 14, rides his bike down Station 29 on Sullivan's Island, S.C., with his friend Patrick Kelly, 14, going the kayak route during flood waters on Sullivan's Island Saturday, on Saturday.
Mic Smith AP
Will Cunningham, 14, rides his bike down Station 29 on Sullivan's Island, S.C., with his friend Patrick Kelly, 14, going the kayak route during flood waters on Sullivan's Island Saturday, on Saturday.

Houses are lined along flooded street in the downtown section of Ocean City, Md., on Saturday.
Cliff Owen AP
Houses are lined along flooded street in the downtown section of Ocean City, Md., on Saturday.

A car drives on flooded Broadway Street in Crisfield, Md., on the Chesapeake Bay, early Sunday.
Cliff Owen AP
A car drives on flooded Broadway Street in Crisfield, Md., on the Chesapeake Bay, early Sunday.

What is being described as "catastrophic flooding" has inundated South Carolina and much of the Mid-Atlantic, as Hurricane Joaquin — despite staying well offshore — has fueled torrential rains in the region.

President Obama has declared a state of emergency in worst-hit South Carolina. Rain and flood warnings for much of the U.S. East Coast continue through today. The rainfall will reach into the Southeast and the Tennessee Valley with flash-flood threats in several states, including parts of New Jersey, Georgia and North Carolina.

Joaquin is forecast to pass very near Bermuda late tonight or early Monday as a major storm that could do considerable damage.

As of 8 a.m. ET, Joaquin was centered about 250 southwest of Hamilton, Bermuda's capital city. The Category 3 storm, with winds of 115 mph, is moving northeast at 21 mph.

In South Carolina, The Post and Courier reports:

"Storms today could produce heavy rainfall, which has been the case since Thursday for most of the Lowcountry. The historic downfall has caused several event cancellations and has closed numerous Lowcountry roads. Residents are urged to stay home as much as possible."A flash flood warning has been extended until 11:45 a.m. for Charleston, Berkeley, Colleton and Dorchester counties. A coastal flood advisory is in effect from noon to 4 p.m. High tide is expected to occur about 2:08 p.m."

And the Weather Channel reported this morning:

"Saturday afternoon's high tide in Charleston, South Carolina — about 8.29 feet or 1.29 feet above flood stage — was the highest measured there since Hurricane Hugo over 26 years ago. Combining with torrential rain, major flooding up to waist deep was seen in parts of the South Carolina Lowcountry. "Adding to the high water, swells from Hurricane Joaquin are propagating to parts of the East Coast."

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