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STORM SWAMPS PARTS OF NORTH FLORIDA

Even before Tropical Storm Debby made landfall Tuesday, rivers and creeks rose, and sinkholes opened around north Florida, where some areas received up to 26 inches of rain this week.

Live Oak in Suwannee County was hit hard. Streets and some downtown businesses were flooded, and emergency crews were helping residents evacuate.

Heavy flooding was reported from Live Oak eastward. The Florida Highway Patrol closed portions of I-10 and U.S. 90 due to flooding.

Part of the interstate in Madison County was closed after a sinkhole opened beneath the eastbound lane.

Tuesday evening, parts of the Jacksonville area struggled with flooding and street closures. At least one large sinkhole opened.

Clay County prepared for some of the worst flooding in history on Black Creek, which was expected to crest by today at 25 feet.Several areas in northern Florida have received more than 10 inches of rain, and forecasters said southeastern Georgia could expect the same. Wakulla, an area in northwestern Florida known for camping and canoeing, has gotten more than 26 inches.

In Suwannee County, emergency management officials on Tuesday declared a voluntary evacuation of low-lying areas and locations near rivers and creeks.

In Apalachicola, the popular Boss Oyster restaurant was closed for a third day after the rain overwhelmed the sewers and knocked out drinking water.

"We've taken a hit," said manager Matthew Bouzemann, adding that normally up to 800 customers a day would be coming in.

In Marion County, a sinkhole tore through the edge of a retention pond in the Fore Ranch subdivision off State Road 200. At least one eight-unit building was evacuated. The hole was about 100 feet long, 40 feet wide and at least 10 feet deep.

OBAMA CALLS SCOTT: President Barack Obama has assured Gov. Rick Scott that the state will have "no unmet needs" as it responds to damage from Tropical Storm Debby. White House spokesman Jay Carney says Obama told Scott the federal government would be in close contact with the state and stood ready to provide additional assistance.

Information from the Associated Press, Gainesville Sun, Florida Times-Union and Ocala Star-Banner was used in this report.

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