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Heavy Rains, Winds Lash Florida

June 13, 2001

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) _ Drenching rains, high winds and tornadoes produced the by remnants of Tropical Storm Allison lashed north Florida, causing at least four deaths, officials said Tuesday.

The storm was earlier blamed for at least 20 deaths in Texas and Louisiana. And last week, five people drowned off the Florida Panhandle in choppy waters that were blamed on Allison.

In Tallahassee, Michael A. Piccin, a 19-year-old Florida State University student, died early Tuesday after his car was swept into a drainage ditch along a flooded street. The body was found nearly two miles away.

On Monday, Alan Echevarria, 32, was killed when a tree crashed through the roof of his Jacksonville home, and two men died north of Pensacola when their car skidded into a rain-swollen ditch, authorities said. They were identified as Robert J. Dulaney, 23, and Christopher Bell, 20.

Rescuers continued searching Tuesday for a shrimp fisherman washed off his boat in choppy waters in Pensacola Bay. Han Cu, of Pensacola, may have been knocked overboard Sunday night, authorities said.

The torrential rains came as Allison moved east over the Atlantic Ocean. Tallahassee Regional Airport measured 9.86 inches of rain in a 12-hour period ending at 8 a.m. Flood watches were issued Tuesday for five counties.

``It’s about as bad as it’s been in several years,″ said Jeff Fournier, a weather service forecaster.

A tornado, one of five reported in Madison County Monday night, destroyed three mobile homes east of Tallahassee, said Jim Stanley, the county’s emergency manager. One person suffered minor injuries.

About 40 Tallahassee homes were flooded and a number of city streets remained closed Tuesday afternoon.

Strong winds collapsed a three-story home under construction Monday west of Pensacola.

``We heard a crash and a boom,″ said neighbor Bruce Hoffman. ``It sounded like a car wreck.″

Anita Dye, a weather service meteorologist, said the rains could put a dent in the state’s three-year drought.

``This is exactly what we’ve been saying we need in terms of our drought condition _ a weak tropical system,″ she said.


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