Naples Florida: Tropical Storm Fay rolled ashore in southwestern Florida on Tuesday without much fanfare but stubbornly hung around like an unwelcome houseguest gaining power and again threatening to become a hurricane.
Fay formed over the weekend in the Atlantic and was blamed for 14 deaths in Haiti and the Dominican Republic including two babies who were found in a river after a bus crash.
The storm first hit the Florida aaas veered out to sea and then traversed east across the state on a path that would curve it toward to the Florida-Georgia border. The failure of Fay to weaken meant a whole new swath of the state had to prepare for a worse storm and meant Florida could wind up getting hit three separate times.
"This storm is going to be with us for a while. That's obvious now. It looks it could be a boomerang storm" Governor Charlie Crist said at a news conference.
Earlier in the day it had appeared that Fay would simply wind down and perhaps bring nothing but heavy rains to the southeastern United States. But by late Tuesday a hurricane watch was posted for parts of north Florida and Georgia as Fay seemed to be resurrected by the flat swampy Everglades increasing the chances it could still end up
strengthening into a hurricane.
Though it flooded streets in Naples downed trees and plunged some 95000 homes and businesses in the dark most Floridians thought they had dodged a bullet. The worst of the storm's wrath appeared to be 51 homes hit by a tornado in Brevard County southeast of Orlando. Nine of the homes were totalled said Brevard County Emergency Operations Centre spokesman David Waters.
Two injuries were reported in the Brevard County tornado and a kitesurfer who was caught in a gust of wind Monday was critically injured when he slammed into a building in front of the beach near Fort Lauderdale.
National Weather Service meteorologist Doug Outlaw said it was not clear whether the storm would track north to the Carolinas or veer west over Tennessee.