RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – The remnants of Tropical Storm Gaston drenched North Carolina on Monday and utility crews struggled to restore power to nearly 90,000 homes and businesses in the Carolinas as forecasters warned another powerful storm could be headed this way.

Flash flood warnings were posted for parts of North Carolina, where up to 6 inches of rain from Gaston was possible. On Sunday, Gaston poured as much as 10 inches on South Carolina, especially the Charleston area.

Gaston was the fourth named storm to strike the Carolinas this month. A fifth storm, Hurricane Frances, was churning far out in the Atlantic with wind blowing at 125 mph, and forecasters said it could threaten the East Coast within days.

“I hope it’s not the way we spend our Labor Day,” South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford said of Frances while talking to local officials about Gaston’s damage.

One traffic death was blamed on Gaston in North Carolina.

More than 6,500 customers were without power at one point Monday in North Carolina. Some 82,000 homes and businesses were still in the dark in South Carolina, down from at least 172,000 during the height of the storm Sunday, and schools could not open in two counties.

Frances was headed toward the Caribbean and the northern Leeward Islands. It was expected to graze Puerto Rico and other islands of the northeastern Caribbean by Tuesday before possibly striking the Bahamas and Florida. Virgin Islands National Park was closed on the U.S. island of St. John.

Forecasts put Frances anywhere from Cuba to the Carolinas by the end of the week.

Residents of those areas should be “paying attention, dusting off their hurricane plans, making whatever preparations that they failed to make at the start of hurricane season,” said Stephen Baig at the National Hurricane Center in Miami.

The Carolinas also have been hit this month by Hurricane Alex, which brushed North Carolina’s Outer Banks; by Tropical Storm Bonnie, which spawned several tornadoes, including one that killed three people; and by Charley, a hurricane that caused wind damage and flooding after devastating wide areas of Florida.

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