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INDIAN ROCKS BEACH, Fla. (AP) _ Severe storms destroyed more than 200 turtle nests on Florida's beaches _ damage that biologists say is the worst in 15 years.

The total includes nearly 100 nests in Pinellas County, on Florida's Gulf Coast. The deluge Monday tore up stakes that marked the nests, flooded the nests and washed away eggs on Indian Rocks Beach, near St. Petersburg.

``It was sad, really sad,'' said Clearwater Marine Aquarium biologist Glenn Harman.

Around the state, workers retrieved all the exposed eggs they could find.

``You never know,'' said Lou Fisher of the Broward County Department of Planning and Environmental Protection. ``There is a 50-50 chance they will survive.''

The storm hit in the middle of the nesting season, which runs from May 1 to Oct. 31. A nest can hold up to 100 eggs.

Harman said that the sea turtle population will not be affected much, since the nesting season is still on and very few nests on Florida's east coast were destroyed.