August 20, 2008

Tropical Storm Fay Soaking Central Florida

A surprisingly resilient Tropical Storm Fay buffeted Central Florida Wednesday with 50 mph winds and severe downpours, forecasters said.

The National Hurricane Center in Miami reported Fay's center at 11 a.m. Wednesday was 15 miles north of Cape Canaveral, Fla., moving north at 3 mph.

A tropical storm warning for north Florida was extended to Altamaha Sound, Ga.

The storm isn't losing as much strength or gaining forward speed as forecasters predicted, and its forecast track was altered to see it make a turn toward the northwest during the next 12 to 24 hours and remain over the east-central and northeastern Florida coast through Thursday.

Tuesday afternoon, tornadoes were reported in Martin, St. Lucie and south Brevard counties, the Orlando (Fla.) Sentinel reported.

Near Sebastian, Fla., more than 50 mobile homes were damaged and nine were destroyed by a possible tornado, the Brevard Sheriff's Office told the newspaper. Three people sustained minor injuries, CNN said.

Forecasters said in coming days, Fay could dump as much as 10 inches of rain on Florida, which is in a second year of drought.

Florida Power & Light said more than 93,000 customers without power in 20 counties, mostly in the southwest, where Fay made landfall Tuesday.