Tropical Storm Fay has come ashore on the Florida coast for a third time since Monday, bringing more of the torrential rain that has flooded hundreds of homes and prompted numerous evacuations.
Fay began moving west across mainland Florida Thursday, after stalling along the northeast Atlantic coast for hours, lashing the area with rain.
President George Bush has declared an emergency for the waterlogged state, authorizing federal authorities to coordinate disaster relief efforts. The move came after Florida Governor Charlie Crist asked the federal government to declare the state a disaster area.
People in flooded regions have been warned to be on the lookout for alligators and snakes, which have been forced out of their habitats and into the waters because of the storm.
Fay passed over the Florida Keys on Monday before moving east across the mainland Tuesday and Wednesday.
The National Hurricane Center says Fay will drift slowly across northern Florida over the next day and will reach the state's western panhandle by late Friday or early Saturday.
The storm at last report had winds near 95 kilometers per hour. Fay is expected to weaken in the coming hours.