Tropical Storm Fay Stays on Florida Coast

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Fay keeps everyone guessing. Will the storm become a hurricane? Will it continue to soak land or move back to sea?

Expected to dwindle away into a minor storm over land, instead Fay picked up strength from the watery Everglades.

Then it slowed to a crawl as it flooded central Florida with massive amounts of rain.

As Florida resident Dennis Despain surveyed a flooded street in front of him, he said, "Welcome to Florida. This used to be all swamp, so it's getting to be back that way.

Fay may have even spawned a tornado that damaged more than 50 homes in Barefoot Bay near Orlando. Whatever it was, it tossed roofs and carports 50 to 60 yards.

Robin Phillips' front porch was ripped away by the wind.

"It was so loud, it woke me up out of a dead sleep," she said. "Hope nobody else has to ever go through this again."

"It's like something you see in the movies, or that happens to other people," said Veronica Cambria. She was describing what it was like to be standing in her kitchen when the roof suddenly peeled off her home. "I looked up and I felt rain on me and I said 'oh my goodness gracious, dear God, what happened? I have no roof.'"

Now Fay appears ready to flirt with the Atlantic again and could pick up hurricane strength from it.

Or it may just go west over the Florida panhandle and southern Georgia.

Or maybe just make a beeline for the Gulf of Mexico.

But, even after all this nasty wind and water, around even these darkest clouds, some found a silver lining.

Surfers and beach-combers were eating up the really rough waves. Greg Ballogy hit the southern Florida beaches just as soon as the worst of Fay blew by. He exclaimed, "Oh yea, we wait for this. This is what we want, on the back end."

And farmers in Florida and Georgia hope their land will get a good soaking from Fay.

Their crops have been hurt by a long, lingering drought.

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Paul Strand

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