Sun | Jun 13, 2021

Debby soaks Florida, under statewide emergency

Published:Tuesday | June 26, 2012 | 12:00 AM

TAMPA, Florida (AP):

Tropical Storm Debby drenched Florida with heavy rains, flooded low-lying neighbourhoods and knocked out power to thousands of homes and businesses as it lingered off the state's coast yesterday.

The governor declared a statewide emergency, and a tropical storm warning was in effect for most of Florida's Gulf coast. At least one person was killed by a twister in Florida, and crews in Alabama searched for a man who disappeared in rough surf Sunday.

In St Pete Beach on Florida's Gulf coast, a tornado ripped the roof off a marina and an apartment complex, and felled fences, trees and signs.

State officials estimated at least 35,000 homes and businesses were without power.

The storm closed the sole bridge to St George Island, a popular vacation island in Florida. Power was already out on the island and authorities said it could be for days.

"The tourists cleared out. It's not a good thing and hurts the economy during a week in peak season," said Patrick Sparks, 26, a manager at Eddy Teach's bar. "It's a tropical storm, it's not even a category one (hurricane). It's a little rash to send everyone home."

Residents in several counties near the crook of Florida's elbow were urged to leave low-lying neighbourhoods because of the threat of flooding. Shelters were opened in some areas.