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More rain spurs flash flood watch in battered Northeast (Reuters)

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Still mopping up after tropical storm Irene, Vermont and other Northeastern states were placed under a flash flood watch on Monday as more rain headed their way.

The National Weather Service issued flash flood watches for Monday afternoon lasting through Tuesday for a vast swath of the Northeast, including flooded areas of Vermont and parts of New Hampshire, Maine, Massachusetts and Connecticut down through Pennsylvania, New York and New Jersey.

"This is a potentially dangerous situation" the NWS said in a statement on its website. "Areas hard hit by tropical storm Irene last week will be susceptible to more flash flooding given the already wet and eroded ground. It will not take much rainfall to cause flash flooding in this situation."

The heaviest rain was expected on Monday afternoon.

"Periods of heavy rainfall to persist into Monday evening with localized amounts of 3 inches or greater likely," the weather service said.

"Several rounds of showers and thunderstorms containing torrential downpours will become more numerous today and should continue through tonight."

The areas hardest hit by Irene, including New York's Long Island, northern New Jersey and southern and central Vermont, were advised to be particularly wary of rising waters in rivers and streams that proved deadly in the last storm.

"The combination of today's heavy rainfall along with the ground being saturated from last weekend's rainfall with Irene will increase the threat for flash flooding," the NWS said.

The region also remains on the alert for high winds, with the remnants of Tropical Storm Lee heading northeasterly into the Appalachians by late Tuesday and Hurricane Katia, moving westward in the Atlantic, expected to kick up surf by midweek.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said a tornado touched down in Amsterdam, New York, near Albany, late on Sunday, damaging some structures but causing no serious injuries.

The governor said he called in search and rescue crews who were already in the Albany area due to damage from Irene.

(Reporting by Barbara Goldberg. Editing by Peter Bohan)

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