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Tropical Storm Debby Brings Heavy Rain To US Gulf Coast

Satellite photo of Tropical Storm Debby at 1246 UTC Jun 25, 2012 (NOAA photo)
Tropical storm Debby is bringing steady to parts of the southern U.S. state of Florida, flooding low-lying areas and raising the threat of tornadoes.

Debbie weakened somewhat on Monday, but it remained nearly stationary over the northeast Gulf of Mexico, dumping nearly continuous rain on Florida's Gulf Coast.

The storm has spawned isolated tornadoes that killed at least one person in Florida, and forecasters are warning about the possibility of more tornadoes.

Rescuers in the neighboring state of Alabama are continuing to search for a swimmer who went missing in rough surf.

Florida Governor Rick Scott declared a state of emergency Monday, saying the declaration will help allow all resources across the state to be used to aid the affected areas.

''I think we've done the right thing. This is the right time to respond when we saw where this tropical storm was headed. When we saw what emergency teams might need. We're prepared,'' Scott said.

The U.S. National Weather Service says the storm is expected to produce total rainfall accumulations of 25 to 51 centimeters across much of northern and central Florida.

Debby has forced the suspension of eight percent of the region's oil and gas production. However, some of the oil and gas producers say they are restarting operations.

Debby is the fourth storm of the 2012 Atlantic hurricane season.

This is the first time that four tropical storms have formed before July 1 during the Atlantic hurricane season, since record keeping began in 1851.

Some information for this report provided by AP and Reuters.