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Tropical storm Debby lashes across Florida, spares Gulf oil rigs (+videos)

Strong winds and heavy rains from tropical storm Debby threaten to drench central Florida, but meteorologists say the slow-moving storm is already weakening.

Tropical Storm Debby: Rain, rain, and more rain
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Tropical storm Debby is dumping bucket loads of rain on the west coast of Florida in places like Tampa, Brooksville, and St. Petersburg.

The rain is expected to continue for the next several days because the storm is sitting nearly stationary in the Gulf of Mexico about 90 miles south-southwest of Apalachicola. Once it starts to move, it’s expected to come ashore – maybe as late as Thursday morning – along the low-lying west coast of Florida, perhaps around Cedar Key.

But, where will it go from there?

Meteorologists expect it will continue across Florida, lashing Gainesville and Ocala before heading for the eastern part of the state. The exact path is still not certain, but meteorologist Eric Leister of AccuWeather.com expects it will cross the state somewhere between Orlando and Jacksonville. The storm’s path across the state is also likely to result in yet more flooding. “It will probably take a whole day to cross Florida,” says Mr. Leister.

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