Tropical Storm Debbie holds its position and drenches Florida

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration GOES Project A photo from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration GOES-13 satellite shows that the storm's clouds continued to blanket all of Florida late Monday morning.

Tropical Storm Debby has brought steady rain to parts of the southern U.S. state of Florida, flooding low-lying areas and raising the threat of tornadoes. Debbie weakened somewhat Monday, but it remained nearly stationary over the northeast Gulf of Mexico, dumping nearly continuous rain on Florida’s Gulf Coast. The U.S. National Hurricane Center said at 2 a.m. today that maximum sustained winds are near 45 mph, (75 kph) with higher gusts.

The storm has spawned isolated tornadoes that killed at least one person in Florida, and forecasters are warning about the possibility of more tornadoes.

Rescuers in the neighboring state of Alabama are continuing to search for a swimmer who went missing in rough surf.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott declared a state of emergency Monday, saying the declaration will help allow all resources across the state to be used to aid the affected areas. ”I think we’ve done the right thing. This is the right time to respond when we saw where this tropical storm was headed. When we saw what emergency teams might need. We’re prepared,” Scott said.

The U.S. National Weather Service says the storm is expected to produce total rainfall accumulations of 25 to 51 centimeters across much of northern and central Florida. That’s about 10 to 20 inches.

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