Rescues, evacuations and school closings after days of rain in North Carolina

NORFOLK: More than 60 people had to be rescued on boats because of flooding in parts of North Carolina on Thursday as the remnants of Tropical Storm Julia lingered off the Atlantic Coast with days of rain.

Schools in North Carolina and Virginia also cancelled classes as localised flooding blocked roads and inundated parking lots.

North Carolina Government Pat McCrory declared a state of emergency for 11 counties, saying the state hadn't seen flooding so severe since Hurricane Floyd in 1999.

The hardest hit area of North Carolina appeared to be around Bertie County in the northeastern part of the state.

McCrory said five swift water rescue teams helped people who were stranded. A medical evacuation bus also was sent to help evacuate a nursing home with 52 residents.

Several North Carolina counties cancelled school as did many cities in the Hampton Roads region of Virginia.

For instance, the 67,000-student school district of Virginia Beach cancelled classes for a second day because of "widespread flooding." The district's website reported that some school parking lots and roads in some neighbourhoods were still submerged.

McCrory said that five to 12 inches of rain fell over eastern North Carolina. The National Weather Service reports that almost 18 inches of rain has fallen in some parts of Virginia's Hampton Roads region.

What's left of Tropical Storm Julia has been spinning off the coast. It's expected to kick out to sea by Friday.