Slow moving tropical storm Debby is causing all kinds of problems in Florida. The massive storm system is hovering in the Gulf of Mexico and is packing high winds and dumping heavy amounts of rainfall over the Sunshine State. Debby is promising to bring more rain over the next few days as it slowly moves on a path to take it over the state and east out into the Atlantic Ocean by Friday.

Portions of Interstate 10 in northern Florida were shut down early Tuesday due to flooding. State officials are warning travelers to drive with extreme caution and not to drive through standing water as there’s no way of telling how deep or fast moving it is. Torrential rainfall and widespread flooding are in the forecast across Florida’s Panhandle for the next several day even though Debby is not expected to strengthen. Forecasters are very worried that the longer Debby sits in the area, the worse the flooding will become and they have every reason to be concerned. Because the storm is moving so slowly, it’s clouds have time to pick up a lot of moisture to dump heavy downpours of rain on the state.

Florida’s governor, Rick Scott declared a statewide emergency Monday. The constant barrage of high winds and pouring rains have triggered fears of the horrible, widespread flooding that took place in the Panhandle of Florida during Hurricane Dennis in ’05. At one point, forecasters had Debby heading west toward Texas but now they say the storm will crawl northeast and eventually come to shore in Florida later this week.

There were several confirmed tornadoes in the Tampa Bay area Monday caused by the tropical storm. One mother lost her life while clutching her baby when a tornado ripped through her home. Both the mother and child were thrown into a wooded area where the mother was found still clutching the injured baby in her arms. Many Florida residents say that they have never experienced such heavy, relentless rains or tornadoes. Debby is expected to spawn even more tornadoes as she inches closer to the Panhandle. Floridians are being urged to listen to local weather and flooding reports and to leave their homes if told to do so by local authorities. There is light at the end of the tunnel however as Friday’s forecast calls for some sun as Debby is forecast to finally move northeast and away from Florida.

Updated: June 26, 2012 — 3:29 pm

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