(TAMPA, Fla.) — Florida’s governor has declared a statewide emergency as rain from Tropical Storm Debby continues to drench the Gulf Coast and the panhandle. The state is expected to be pounded with even more rain as the storm moves closer.
Governor Rick Scott says at least nine shelters have opened across Florida.
“We declared a state of emergency so we can coordinate the use of all state resources to make sure that we can respond promptly if anything happens,” the governor said Monday.
“Like always, everybody should have food and water on hand, but just be prepared and use common sense and be careful,” Scott said.
“Everybody needs to be very, very, very cautious. Don’t take anything for granted,” the governor cautioned. “Take care of your family. Watch out for friends, watch out for people that might be, that you know can’t get out.”
Tropical storm warnings were up this morning from Florida to Alabama as heavy rain pelted the panhandle. Debby spent the night well off shore, but she spawned a water spout visible from Florida’s beaches and several tornados over the central part of the state. The storm’s outer bands produced twisters that damaged dozens of homes and killed one woman south of Tampa.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Paul R. La Monica, CNN
Jeanne Sahadi, CNN