Tropical Storm Fay continues through Florida

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Friday, August 22, 2008

Snakes and alligators have been forced out onto Florida streets in the United States as Tropical Storm Fay continues to flood the state, breaking the region's two-year drought. The storm has already left over two feet of rain along Florida's central Atlantic coast with more still to come.

About 60,000 homes have lost power and schools have been closed. On Thursday President George W. Bush issued a federal disaster declaration that allows for the Department of Homeland Security to use federal funds to pay for 75% of the debris removal costs.

NASA satellite photo of Fay on August 19, 2008.

Gary Redwine of Merritt Island near Cape Canaveral was so sick of waiting inside he hopped in a kayak to tour around the neighbourhood to inspect the debris. "It's the only dry way to get around. It's not like you can go jogging or anything," the 49-year-old said to Associated Press.

At 5 a.m. EDT (UTC-4) Fay was moving west at 6 mph (~10 km/h) and forecast to gradually weaken. Florida Governor Charlie Crist commented, "This storm has been hanging around and hanging around and hanging around, and she's going to be around for a while longer."

State climatologist David Zierden told the Los Angeles Times that the reason for the rain is that Fay is a "slow moving system" which has drawn water from the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean.

Several thousand homes have been damaged by the flooding. The National Guard helped to evacuate some residents. Aside from the flooding, Tropical Storm Fay has been beneficial for the water table, according to district spokesman Randy Smith.