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Monday, September 06, 2004

The New York Times > AP > National > Weakened but Persistent Storm Threatens Florida Panhandle

The New York Times > AP > National > Weakened but Persistent Storm Threatens Florida Panhandle: "September 6, 2004
Weakened but Persistent Storm Threatens Florida Panhandle
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

Filed at 2:41 p.m. ET
PANACEA, Fla. (AP) -- Tropical Storm Frances plowed ashore on the Florida Panhandle on Monday, its second U.S. landfall after causing flooding and tearing up homes and boats across the center of the state. About 6 million people lost power and at least four people were killed.
After crossing part of the Gulf of Mexico, Frances' center hit land at about 2 p.m. some 20 miles south of Tallahassee with top sustained wind near 65 mph, the National Hurricane Center said. The storm was moving north-northwest at about 8 mph, and was not expected to regain hurricane strength, forecasters said.
After passing through the Panhandle, Frances will move into Georgia and Alabama. Radar showed rain already spreading across Georgia into parts of South Carolina and North Carolina.
As northern Florida residents dealt with Frances, residents in hard-hit areas began the arduous task of cleaning up.
More than 13 inches of rain had fallen along Florida's central east coast, flooding some areas 4 feet deep, before Frances finished crossing the state and entered the Gulf of Mexico late Sunday.
State officials urged people to stay where they were because of the possibility of flooding in the Panhandle and the difficulty of finding service stations still in operation.
``Our message is turn around, don't drown. If you do not have to travel, don't do so,'' state meteorologist Ben Nelson said Monday, warning of possible storm surges of up to 10 feet. Lt. Gov. Toni Jennings said officia"

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