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Tropical Storm Debby taking a toll around Florida

Tropical Storm Debby continued to cause death and destruction around Florida.

In Highlands County, southeast of Tampa, the sheriff's office said in a news release that several tornadoes moved through the area southeast of Tampa, damaging homes.

Spokeswoman Nell Hays said a woman was found dead in a house in Venus that was destroyed in the storm. A child found in the same house was taken to the hospital.

No further information was available on the child's condition or either person's age.

Residents in several counties near the crook of Florida's elbow were urged to leave low-lying neighborhoods because of the threat of flooding.

Shelters were open in the area of Franklin, Taylor and Wakulla counties.

In Orange Beach, Ala., a 32-year-old man disappeared Sunday in rough surf kicked up by the storm, said Coast Guard Lt. j.g. Torry James. Crews plan to continue searching for a South Carolina man.

Officials on Monday said the main bridge to St. George Island, a popular vacation spot, was closed as the storm loomed. Power was already out on the island and authorities said it could be out for days.

As of Sunday, 23 percent of oil and gas production in the region had been suspended, according to a government hurricane response team. Employees have been evacuated from 13 drilling rigs and 61 production platforms in the Gulf of Mexico.

The storm was not expected to result in higher oil and gas prices.

"It's largely a nonevent for oil," said Tom Kloza, chief oil analyst at the Oil Price Information Service.

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