August 22, 2008

Day 5 for Tropical Storm Fay in Florida

Tropical Storm Fay lingered over Florida for a fifth day Friday, flooding the drought-stricken state and causing several deaths, state officials said.

At 5 a.m., Fay was centered over Gainesville, Fla., with 50 mph winds and a forecast of as much as 8 inches of rain, the National Hurricane Center in Miami said.

The storm that first hit the Florida Keys Monday was moving west near 6 mph, which forecasters said would continue for two days, eventually reaching Alabama and Mississippi.

Power outages were widespread in Central Florida, as were reports of flooding.

National Weather Service meteorologist Steve Letro told The Gainesville Sun it was a frustrating storm.

"This storm, from the beginning, has not moved as fast as it was supposed to go," he said. "We're dealing with the storm that won't go away."

CNN reported two women drowned in Neptune Beach and Daytona while swimming Thursday, while Florida Gov. Charlie Crist told reporters a man died in southeastern Florida while testing a gas-powered generator in his home.

Thursday, U.S. President George Bush declared a state of emergency for Florida to release federal funds for disaster relief.