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Tropical Storm Debby continued to weaken Monday but was expected to bring intermittent rain to South Florida through midweek.
But the heaviest rain and strongest winds associated with the system were expected to stay in the northern and central portions of the state. The storm was drifting northeast at 2 mph over the northeast Gulf of Mexico, according to the National Hurricane Center in Miami.
It drenched Florida with heavy rains as Governor Rick Scott declared a statewide emergency.
At least 35,000 homes and businesses were without power.
One woman was found dead in a house in Venus, southeast of Tampa, after a tornado destroyed a house there, the Highlands County Sheriff's Office said.
As of about 11 p.m., Debby had maximum sustained winds near 45 mph and was located about 35 miles south of Apalachicola, Florida. Tropical storm force winds extend outward up to 240 miles, mainly to the southeast of the center.
Little change in strength is expected in the next two days, as Debby slowly moves toward the northeast or east-northeast, forecasters said.
A tropical storm warning was in effect for the Florida Gulf Coast from Mexico Beach to Englewood. Torrential rains and flooding will continue for the next few days across parts of the Florida Panhandle and north Florida, the National Hurricane Center said.
The storm closed the Sunshine Skyway Bridge across Tampa Bay and northbound lanes of the Howard Frankland Bridge, which connects St. Petersburg to Tampa. The southbound lanes of that span were closed earlier but reopened.
The combination of a storm surge and the tide will cause flooding in normally dry areas near the coast, the National Hurricane Center said. It said the water could reach depths of 3 to 5 feet from Apalachee Bay to Waccasassa Bay, and depths of 1 to 3 feet on Florida's west coast south of Waccasassa Bay.
Isolated storm rainfall totals of 25 inches are possible in north Florida, forecasters said.
A few tornadoes are also possible across the Panhandle Monday night and Tuesday, they added.