Elsa soaks NY as it races up US coast

A deluge from former tropical storm Elsa flooded New York City streets and subway stations.
A deluge from former tropical storm Elsa flooded New York City streets and subway stations.

The fast-moving storm Elsa has lashed New York City and New England with heavy rain and high winds, flooding streets, toppling trees and hindering some rail service.

Maximum sustained winds from the storm were 85km/h by late Friday afternoon as the storm moved northeast from Boston toward Maine.

The US National Hurricane Center said Elsa was no longer considered a tropical storm but still warned of heavy rainfall and gusty winds into Friday evening.

Elsa had been powerful enough to bring about nine centimetres of rain to areas of Massachusetts and Rhode Island by the early afternoon, flooding streets and stranding cars.

Storm conditions caused morning snags on commuter rail lines across the New York City region, a day after a deluge flooded some streets and subway stations.

Up to 15cm of rain was possible in some areas Friday, enough to cause flash flooding.

Most of the winds stayed offshore in New England but the eastern tip of Maine expected gusts of 48km/h-64km/h.

Heavy rain was expected before the storm blew into the Bay of Fundy and Canada late Friday.

The system was already blamed for one death in Florida on Wednesday. And Elsa also previously caused a damaging tornado in Georgia.

Elsa is the earliest fifth-named storm on record, said Brian McNoldy, a hurricane researcher at the University of Miami.

Australian Associated Press