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Fla. residents urged to leave low-lying areas as Debby nears

2:16 AM, Jun 25, 2012   |    comments
High surf at Pensacola Beach, Florida (file photo)
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MIAMI -- Residents of several counties along Florida's Gulf coast are being urged to leave low-lying neighborhoods because of the threat of flooding from Tropical Storm Debby.

The storm has already dumped heavy rain on parts of the state, and it has brought some isolated tornadoes. One death is blamed on a tornado from the storm. And a man is missing in the Gulf of Mexico at an Alabama beach, as the storm kicked up rough surf.

The storm is essentially standing still, about 115 miles south-southwest of Apalachicola, Florida. Its top winds are clocked at 60 miles an hour.

Storm tracks are often difficult to foresee days in advance, but a forecast map predicts that it will meander to the north as the week unfolds.

A major concern will be flooding from heavy rainfall. Because the storm is moving slowly, its clouds have more time to unload rain. One advisory says some areas of northern Florida could get as much as 25 inches of rain.

Despite the warnings issued in the Florida Panhandle, the storm hasn't totally dampened vacations. Thousands were on the beach at Pensacola Beach, Fla., Sunday morning. Many used phones to take photos of huge waves crashing into the concrete supports of a fishing pier.

(Associated Press)

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