Clouds of gloom have rolled into town following the discovery that a promised week-long visit by NBC weatherman Willard Scott was a hoax.

"It sounded just too good to be true," Martha Newsome, head of the Tourism Council in nearby Kingsland.A bookstore had promoted an Aug. 11 cookbook signing by Scott, the rotund, pun-wielding weatherman of the "Today" show. A bed-and-breakfast inn had reserved its best room for Scott and made space for him to broadcast weather reports from Aug. 8 through Aug. 12.

Willard-mania began last week when Newsome was contacted by a woman who identified herself as an NBC coordinator sent to make arrangements for Scott and a network film crew to visit this coastal town of about 3,600 just north of the Florida line.

Newsome said she spent a few days with the woman last week showing her around and helping arrange accommodations for Scott. During a Rotary Club meeting on Friday, it was announced Scott was coming to town.

Newsome said she became suspicious when the woman asked her to arrange for cars to be donated for NBC executives to use while in St. Marys. She felt that plans for a 30-minute news special on the area seemed a bit extravagant.

NBC officials in New York told Newsome they never heard of the woman and advised her to call police.

Kathy Graham, an NBC spokeswoman in New York, said Scott is broadcasting the weather next week from New York as usual.