Tropical Storm Debby soaks Florida
Jun 25, 2012 / 7:48 pm
Tropical Storm Debby raked the U.S. Gulf Coast with high winds and heavy rain that could trigger widespread flooding, with one person killed over the weekend in Florida and another person missing in Alabama after disappearing in rough surf.
An estimated 35,000 homes and businesses lost electricity. But the slow-moving storm had caused only scattered damage by Monday afternoon.
Florida Gov. Rick Scott declared a statewide emergency, allowing authorities to put laws against price-gouging into effect and override bureaucratic hurdles to deal with the storm.
Forecasters said the storm would come ashore along Florida's northwestern coast on Wednesday and track slowly across the state, exiting along the Atlantic coast by Saturday morning and losing steam along the way.
"The widespread flooding is the biggest concern," said Florida Emergency Operations Center spokeswoman Julie Roberts. "It's a concern that Debby is going to be around for the next couple of days, and while it sits there, it's going to continue to drop rain. The longer it sits, the more rain we get."
High winds and the threat of flooding forced the closing of an interstate highway bridge that spans Tampa Bay and links St. Petersburg with areas to the southwest.
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