Fay Packs Powerful Punch

Tropical storm brings whipping winds, heavy rain and tornadoes to south Florida.

ByABC News
February 19, 2009, 5:00 AM

Aug. 19, 2008 — -- Although Tropical Storm Fay didn't become the hurricane that was expected, south Floridians will still face heavy rain, winds of up to 60 miles per hour and possibly tornadoes today, according to the National Hurricane Center.

Fay's menacing approach prompted the shutdown of schools, government offices and businesses as the memories of Hurricane Wilma's devastation tugged at the memories of locals.

"Fay made landfall near Cape Romano at 5 a.m. Eastern, very near where Wilma came ashore in 2005," National Hurricane Center spokesman and meteorologist Dennis Feltgen told ABCNews.com. "Of course this is a very different storm than Hurricane Wilma."

Although all hurricane warnings and watches had been lifted for the area, Fay will still pack a punch as it makes it way inland to Ft. Myers at 9 mph. Southeast Florida residents can expect winds of 60 mph and up to 10 inches of rain.

"Rain's going to be a big deal," Feltgen said. "Four to eight inches are expected across east, central and south Florida and there could be some pickets of 10 inches."

Residents outside of Florida will not feel the effects of Fay, according to the National Hurricane Center.

Although the storm is expected to weaken as it moves north and farther inland, Floridians could face another weather problem: tornadoes.

Several areas in south Florida are under tornado watch and warning, and isolated tornadoes are predicted across South and Central Florida, which Feltgen called "common with land-falling cyclones."

When Fay hit Key West Monday, it was strong enough to flood much of this island, and rock people's homes, especially those who live on the water.

Along what is known as "houseboat row," a woman named Dawn rode out the storm with the help of Rosita her Chihuahua and McTavish her Yorkshire terrier, she told "Good Morning America."

"This is sort of like the last stand you might say," Dawn said.

She bought the houseboat with the insurance money she received after her oceanfront home in the Keys was destroyed by Hurricane George in 1998. She has learned to be careful living on the water and says she evacuates immediately.