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Remnants of deadly Erika threaten flash floods

Courtesy of www.accuweather.com (Copyright by WSLS - All rights reserved)

NBC News – Flood warnings were in effect for most of Florida early Monday as the aftermath of Tropical Storm Erika was expected to bring at least five inches of rain.

The National Weather Service warned people in flood-prone areas to "take action to protect [their] property" after moisture was drawn northward following the storm that killed 20 people in the Caribbean last week.

There could be "significant flooding of streets" and rip currents causing dangerous boating conditions off the coast, the NWS said. Flash flooding and gusty winds were also possible, forecasters warned.

Heavy rain began in some areas on Sunday, with minor street flooding reported in the cities of Gainesville and St. Augustine.

The rain was set to continue at least until Monday night and possibly Tuesday morning, according to the NWS. As well as the flood warnings across most of the Florida peninsula — excluding the panhandle — there were flood warnings issued in southeastern Georgia.

Residents across the region were told to brace for between three and five inches of rain through Monday, with even heavier amounts possible in localized areas.

Although the forecast deluge may sound like a welcome reprieve for parts of southern Florida currently experiencing drought, the heaviest rain could be enough to trigger serious flash flooding, according to The Weather Channel.

In the Caribbean, hard-hit countries were still tallying the damage wrought by Erika.

At least 20 people died in Dominica after 13 inches of rain fell in as many hours, and causing what the country's prime minister called "monumental" destruction.

In Puerto Rico, 200,000 people lost power and millions of dollars in crops were destroyed. Mudslides blocked roads in Haiti, where a prison was evacuated and rain appeared to have caused fiery truck crash killing four people and injuring 11 others.

Meanwhile, Hurricane Fred formed in the Atlantic early Monday and was moving closer to the Cape Verde Islands, which lie 400 miles off the western coast of Africa.

The islands have issued what could be their first ever hurricane warning, according to The Weather Channel, but there is no indication the storm will come close to North America.

In the Pacific, Hurricane Ignacio was churning toward Hawaii but had begun weakening Sunday morning. The NWS has issued high-surf warnings and watches around the islands.