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Fay forces more evacuations in north and central Florida

TALLAHASSEE

Rescue teams were evacuating people from 180 homes in a Florida town about 25 miles north of Orlando due to flooding from what was Tropical Storm Fay.

Officials say they're using boats to evacuate people from DeBary, where some streets are under 4 feet of water.

Water continued to rise in some places Sunday as President Bush declared four hard-hit counties disaster areas. The declaration makes federal money available to governments in Brevard, Monroe, Okeechobee and St. Lucie counties for emergency work and repairs.

State and federal emergency officials are still assessing the damage from the weeklong storm that caused at least 11 deaths in Florida and one each in Georgia and Alabama.

In the Tampa Bay area, the storm's legacy remains modest.

Anthony Reynes, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Ruskin, said there was no significant flooding in Tampa Bay. In Citrus and Levy counties, he said, there was some flooding. The Withlacoochee River near Dunnellon was a few inches above flood stage Sunday. The National Weather Service still did not have final rainfall numbers.

Robyn Felix, spokeswoman for the Southwest Florida Water Management District, said the large amounts of rain in northern Florida did not have an effect on water levels in the Tampa Bay area. In fact, this region could use more rain.

"We do still have an impact from more than two years of drought," Felix said. "It's still going to take our water resources more time to recover. One storm event probably isn't going to do it."

Gov. Charlie Crist toured flood damage at the St. Mark's River in north Florida on Sunday, and said he was pleased and grateful that federal assistance is on the way.

Fay was downgraded to a tropical depression Saturday night after making a record fourth landfall in Florida. Its remnants were forecast to dump several inches of rain across Alabama, Mississippi, eastern Louisiana and Tennessee on Sunday and today.

Authorities remain concerned about flooding in areas hit hard by the storm in Central Florida. Brevard County Emergency Management spokeswoman Kimberly Prosser said waters on the St. John's River could continue to rise as runoff flows into the river.

Staff writer Jonathan Abel contributed to this report.

Fay forces more evacuations in north and central Florida 08/24/08 [Last modified: Tuesday, November 2, 2010 1:50pm]
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