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Tropical Storm Debby putting damper on vacations

Published: Tuesday, June 26 2012 9:40 p.m. MDT

A pleasure boat sits battered and sunken at the Rock Landing Marina in Panacea, Fla., Tuesday, June 26, 2012. About a dozen boats were damaged by wind and rain from Tropical Storm Debby. (AP Photo/Dave Martin) (Associated Press) A pleasure boat sits battered and sunken at the Rock Landing Marina in Panacea, Fla., Tuesday, June 26, 2012. About a dozen boats were damaged by wind and rain from Tropical Storm Debby. (AP Photo/Dave Martin) (Associated Press)

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 like a giant shower head set up over the state's Gulf Coast. 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, windy weather. Sea World closed early on Monday.

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 ahead of the usually big pre-July Fourth weekend.

"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."

In this Monday, June 25, 2012 photo, life guard towers on Clearwater Beach are awash from high waters from Tropical Storm Debby, in Clearwater Beach, Fla. Debby flooded homes, an animal shelter and closed parts of the main interstate highway across northern Florida on as the storm hung stubbornly offshore over the Gulf of Mexico, threatening up to two feet of rain in places. (AP Photo/The Tampa Bay Times, Jim Damaske) (Associated Press) In this Monday, June 25, 2012 photo, life guard towers on Clearwater Beach are awash from high waters from Tropical Storm Debby, in Clearwater Beach, Fla. Debby flooded homes, an animal shelter and closed parts of the main interstate highway across northern Florida on as the storm hung stubbornly offshore over the Gulf of Mexico, threatening up to two feet of rain in places. (AP Photo/The Tampa Bay Times, Jim Damaske) (Associated Press)

In a state where the biggest attractions are the sand and the sun, Debby forced many to make other plans.

Douglas and Carolyn Green of Nashville, Tenn., were supposed to spend a week on St. George Island with three generations of family, but arrived to find the electricity was out and the bridge closed to nonresidents for fear of looters. They spent Monday night in nearby Apalachicola, and then all nine relatives headed to Fort Walton Beach.

"We never saw the island," Douglas Green said. "We're moving on. Plan B, I guess you'd call it."

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