ST. GEORGE ISLAND, Fla. — Debby, the guest that wouldn’t leave, is ruining things for a lot of other visitors.
Vacationers were wearing ponchos instead of swimsuits at the peak of the summer season because of the tropical storm, which has drenched Florida for at least four days straight. Debby has dumped as much as 26 inches of rain in some spots.
Disney World wasn’t as crowded as usual, and one of its water parks closed because of the soggy weather.
Along the Florida Panhandle, where Debby sat offshore nearly motionless for days, the parking lot at the 100-room Buccaneer Inn was empty because of a power outage.
“We’ve had bad luck on this island,” said the inn’s vice president, JoAnn Shiver. “We’ve had Dennis. We’ve had Katrina. We had the oil spill.”
Debby finally blew ashore Tuesday afternoon near Steinhatchee in the Big Bend area, the crook of Florida’s elbow. It had sustained winds near 40 mph, barely a tropical storm. It is expected to cross the state and head into the Atlantic on Wednesday afternoon.
Several areas in northern Florida have received more than 10 inches of rain, and forecasters said southeastern Georgia could expect the same. Wakulla, an area in northwestern Florida known for camping and canoeing, has gotten more than 26 inches.
A woman was killed in a tornado spun off from the storm, and a man disappeared in the rough surf over the weekend in Alabama. In addition to knocking out power to about 35,000 customers, Debby has caused mostly scattered flooding, but forecasters warned it could get worse.
“Even though the winds are coming down, the rain threat continues,” said James Franklin at the National Hurricane Center. “We expect another 4 to 8 inches, in some of these areas up in north Florida, in particular.”
President Barack Obama called Florida Gov. Rick Scott and promised the state will have “no unmet needs” as it deals with the flooding, White House spokesman Jay Carney said.
In New Port Richey, a suburb about 30 miles north of Tampa, most of the 170-plus elevated homes at the Suncoast Gateway park for retirees had water underneath them. Several dozen homeowners decided to stay, despite having no electricity or tap water.
Portions of Interstate 10, the main east-west highway across northern Florida, were shut down because of flooding.