August 19, 2008

Tropical Storm Fay Hits South Florida

Tropical Storm Fay came ashore in southwestern Florida Tuesday morning with 60 mph winds extending outwards 125 miles, forecasters in Miami said.

After ripping through the Caribbean for four days, killing several, Fay came ashore with heavy rain around 5 a.m. near Naples, the National Hurricane Center said.

The storm came ashore sooner and farther south than models predicted, and is now expected to slowly lose strength as it moves across land. All previous hurricane warnings and watches were canceled, the center said.

The storm is expected to produce rainfall accumulations of 4-8 inches in Florida, and up to 5 inches in the Bahamas. The center also cautioned storm tides could be as much as 5 feet above normal.

Fay is moving toward the north-northeast near 9 mph, although a decrease in forward speed and a turn to the north is expected on Wednesday, taking it through much of the peninsula.

Fay caused only minimal damage when it passed over the Florida Keys Monday night, the Miami Herald reported.