FORT PIERCE, Fla. (AP) - Hurricane Frances' wind and water whacked swaths of Florida with fire-hose force Sunday, submerging entire roadways and tearing off rooftops before weakening to a tropical storm and crawling inland with heavy rain. More than 5 million people lost power, and two people were killed.
Over 13 inches of rain fell along Florida's central east coast, flooding some areas four feet deep, as a weakened Frances edged across the state toward Tampa and the Gulf of Mexico. In its wake, trees and power lines were leveled, broken traffic lights dangled and beachfront roads were littered with coconuts, avocados and tree limbs.
"I was just waiting for the house to blow down," said Diane Wright, who rode out the storm in a mobile home in Fort Pierce.
Hers didn't. But even shelters weren't spared: The roof at a school housing evacuees was partially blown off.
The scope of the enormous storm was evident Sunday as bands of rain and gusty wind extended the length of the state's 430-mile east coast from the Keys to Jacksonville and beyond along the Georgia coast. It was expected to move into the panhandle Monday, then into Georgia and Alabama.
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