Tropical Storm Drenches Florida
RACHEL LA CORTE
Sep. 22, 1999
MIAMI (AP) _ Tropical Storm Harvey drenched Florida's Gulf Coast with more than 10 inches of rain Tuesday, forcing schools to close, flooding homes and businesses and playing havoc with travelers' plans.
The storm left streets in the small fishing village of Everglades City under 2 feet of water as it moved across South Florida and over the Atlantic Ocean.
At 8 p.m., Harvey's center was about 70 miles east of Palm Beach. Its sustained winds of about 50 mph had dropped to 45 mph.
In advance of the storm, schools were ordered shut in such Gulf Coast counties as Hillsborough, Manatee, Sarasota, mostly out of fear of street flooding. Some government offices also closed for the day.
``We've had up to 30 homes and businesses suffer some flooding,'' said Ken Pineau, director of the Collier County Emergency Operations Center in Naples.
At least five Florida airports reported flight cancellations, and delays were common throughout the state.
The storm dumped 10 inches of rain on Collier County and about an inch on Miami-Dade County, on Florida's Atlantic Coast, where two possible tornadoes were spotted.
On Monday, Gov. Jeb Bush declared a state of emergency for 56 of 67 counties in anticipation of the storm.
The Tampa area was spared the brunt of the storm, and evacuation warnings were lifted. The port of Tampa also reopened, allowing for the return of a cruise ship that had been stranded in the Gulf of Mexico with 1,700 passengers after an engine room fire.