Page last updated at 15:17 GMT, Saturday, 23 August 2008 16:17 UK

Fay hits Florida for fourth time

Man struggles with umbrella in Gainesville
The storm has caused serious damage despite not reaching hurricane force

Tropical Storm Fay, which has left a trail of death and destruction in its wake, has entered the record books by hitting Florida for a fourth time.

The storm has not reached hurricane strength, but its erratic path, with winds of up to 95km/h (60mph) and heavy rain, has caused major problems.

Governor Charlie Crist says at least 10 people have died as a result of the storm which first hit on Monday.

Before reaching the US, at least 12 people died when Fay hit the Caribbean.

'Fay fatigue'

In Florida, heavy rains and flooding have left tens of thousands of people without power.

"The damage and loss of life that we've already seen from Fay is a reminder that a tropical storm can be devastating, dangerous, and deadly," said Mr Crist, who urged Floridians to remain vigilant.

"A lot of us are certainly suffering from Fay fatigue, but we've got to stay focused. This is a big storm, and it's causing a lot of damage all over the state."

Winds are now at a maximum of about 40 knots (45mph) and the storm is heading west at about 7mph, according to the National Hurricane Center.

Federal disaster

The sixth tropical storm of the 2008 Atlantic hurricane season was expected to finally leave Florida on Saturday as it heads for Mississippi and Alabama.

In some flooded areas along Florida's low-lying coastline, residents have been warned to be wary of alligators and snakes forced from their habitats in search of dry land.

Having formed more than a week ago, Fay tore through Haiti and the Dominican Republic before drenching parts of Cuba.

Heading north, the storm first made landfall in the Florida Keys on Monday.

It then headed out over open water before hitting land for a second time near Naples on Florida's south-western coast.

Advancing slowly north-east across the state, Fay reached the Atlantic before veering west and making landfall late on Thursday and again on Saturday.

US President George W Bush had earlier issued a federal disaster declaration for affected areas.

Emergency officials are due to survey the damage as the floodwaters slowly begin to recede.

Tropical storm hugs Florida coast
20 Aug 08 |  Americas
Storm drenches south-west Florida
19 Aug 08 |  Americas
Animated guide: Hurricanes
01 Jun 05 |  Science/Nature

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