Tropical Depression Lee Weakens, But Flooding Still a Threat

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Dan Anderson / Reuters

Residents travel through flooded streets by boat and truck as Tropical Storm Lee slowly makes landfall in Lafitte, Louisiana September 4, 2011.

While weaker, Lee still has plenty of rain left to dump all across the Southeast and possibly into the Northeast.

By Sunday night, the storm that hit New Orleans with over a foot of rain and tested the city’s upgraded levy and pump system—they passed the test, by the way—was downgraded to a tropical depression, but that doesn’t mean it won’t still have ample precipitation for folks from the lower Mississippi Valley to the Florida Panhandle and the southern Appalachians.

(PHOTOS: Tropical Storm Lee Makes Landfall)

While beginning to run out of power, the storm was moving slow enough to still pose a flash flood danger, especially in hills or mountain areas, according to the Hydrometeorological Prediction Center.

With a handful of tornadoes already associated with the storm, that specific threat will diminish, but heavy rainfall could last at least a few more days as the rain-laden clouds travel toward the Northeast.

Lee bids farewell to the New Orleans area, leaving behind it plenty of standing water, allowing the city time to assess how it handled nearly as much rainwater as it received during Hurricane Katrina in 2005. According to MSNBC, Mayor Mitch Landrieu says the sudden rush of over 13 inches of rain caused some street flooding and pushed at least 200 people from their homes, but all 24 of the sewage and water pumps worked at capacity to erase the urban flooding threat while shifting the water back into Lake Pontechartrain.

Meanwhile, in other threatening storm news, Hurricane Katia weakened slightly in open Atlantic and on Monday, but was still expected to hit “major hurricane” status by Tuesday and possibly push toward the U.S. East Coast this week.

Tim Newcomb is a contributor for TIME. Find him on Twitter at @tdnewcomb. You can also continue the discussion on TIME’s Facebook page and on Twitter at @TIME.

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