Gov. Scott Tours Hard-Hit Areas After Debby

The governor toured areas hit by Tropical Storm Debby Friday

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
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    A car drives through high flood water on June 26, 2012 in New Port Richey, Florida. Residents of the Mill Run area are preparing to leave under a mandatory evacuation order by emergency management officials. According to local news, two area rivers have converged and surpassed the 100-year flood plan.

    Two days after Tropical Storm Debby dissipated, Floridians are still dealing with the problems the system left behind.

    Gov. Rick Scott toured areas hard-hit by the storm on Friday, including a mobile home park that was flooded when a river overflowed. He said he would seek federal disaster relief.

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    At least seven deaths in the state have been blamed on the storm and on Friday, another body was found in a pond in Tampa — although police didn't immediately know if that death was storm-related.

    State emergency operations spokeswoman Jessica Sims says two people died in Pinellas County, including a 41-year-old woman caught in a riptide Wednesday at St. Pete Beach.

    Storm-related deaths were also reported in Highlands — where a woman was killed by a tornado on Sunday while clutching her baby girl, who survived — as well as in Pasco, Polk, Lake and Madison counties.

    State disaster spokeswoman Jessica Sims says flooding remains a concern and that flood warnings are in effect for several rivers in north Florida. She says the upper Suwannee River and Upper Santa Fe Rivers are forecast to crest at major flood stage this weekend. The lower Suwannee is forecast to crest in minor to moderate flood stage early next week.

    Flood warnings also remain in effect for several land areas in Dixie, Lafayette, Taylor, Franklin, Wakulla, southwestern Jefferson, and southern Liberty counties.

    Since Saturday, Debby dropped more than 20 inches of rain in some communities.

    Groups comprised of the Federal Emergency Management Agency workers and the State Emergency Response Team fanned out Friday to determine the severity of the damage in nine counties, spanning from the Tampa Bay area up to Florida's Panhandle.

    In Pasco County alone, officials there said the storm had caused $1.5 million in damages to homes and $4 million in damages to businesses — numbers that are expected to rise in coming weeks.

    Flood-damaged homes and businesses, along with waterlogged roads that caved in and formed sinkholes, are among the problems along Florida's west coast. Shelters are still open in seven counties and the Salvation Army and the Red Cross have helped thousands with meals, showers and hygiene kits.

    The weekend's forecast will make cleanup and assessment uncomfortable, if not difficult.

    Emergency officials say heat indices could rise to 110 degrees by Saturday.

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