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A tropical-storm warning was in effect from the northern South Carolina coast to the North Carolina-Virginia border, the National Hurricane Center said.

Three to 4 inches of rain had fallen in some areas along the North Carolina coast, and cities were under flood advisories as more rain was expected, said Reid Hawkins, a National Weather Service meteorologist in Wilmington, N.C.

Mr. Hawkins cautioned against swimming along the North Carolina coast, citing reports of 6- to 8-foot seas, as well as a danger of rip currents.

Most of the strongest winds and rains have remained over water, but forecasters said the storm should move closer to land after it strengthens.

From wire dispatches and staff reports