SARASOTA, Fla. — Tropical Storm Gabrielle sloshed across Florida on Friday, knocking down trees and power lines, flooding roads and spinning off tornadoes on a course taking it into the Atlantic Ocean.
As many as 570,000 homes and businesses were left without electricity.
By afternoon, the storm was near Orlando, spitting out tornadoes ahead of it that caused light damage but no reported injuries.
A tropical storm warning was issued for the eastern coast from Jupiter Inlet in east-central Florida north to Brunswick, Ga.
The storm left downtown Sarasota flooded, and one man there was rescued from a drain pipe. Two major bridges across Tampa Bay were closed because of the high winds.
An Econo Lodge motel in Bradenton lost part of its roof, forcing the evacuation of 100 people. "The north side of the roof is now on the south side," manager Johnny Patel said.
About 75 coastal homes in Charlotte County, south of Venice, were flooded when the storm created a 5-foot surge, and some beaches on Manasota Key were damaged, local authorities said. There also were extensive power outages and flooded streets and bridges. No injuries were reported.
"The storm gave us a significant hit--not as bad as it could've been but still enough to get our attention," said Shane Stovall of the Charlotte County emergency management services. "It produced a lot of rain, rolling thunderstorms and some high winds people hadn't seen in a while."
The Miami area, which had been braced for as much as 10 inches of rain, was spared somewhat, receiving about 2 inches Friday from storms related to Gabrielle.
South Florida already had received more than 3 inches of rain in the last several days, flooding many streets and parking lots and filling the canal system to capacity.
Walt Disney World remained open, although three water parks were closed and gusty winds closed some rides.
Gabrielle came ashore Friday morning near Venice in southwestern Florida and was expected to move into the open Atlantic early Saturday near Daytona Beach.
Gibsonton, south of Tampa, reported more than 11 inches of rain. Wind gusts of 61 mph were recorded on the western edge of Everglades National Park.
Forecasters were not sure what might happen once Gabrielle goes back out to sea.
"The intensity forecast gets a little tricky once the storm emerges over the Atlantic," said Jack Beven at the National Hurricane Center in Miami.
Out in the central Atlantic, Hurricane Felix had top winds of 105 mph and was 985 miles west-southwest of the Azores, a threat only to shipping as it moved northeast at 15 mph.
In the north Atlantic, Hurricane Erin was 145 miles southwest of Cape Race, Newfoundland, moving northeast at 21 mph with top sustained winds of 75 mph. Heavy rains and gusty winds were expected over southeastern Newfoundland as Erin loses strength over colder waters.
"The coastal states have been lucky so far," said Lt. Cmdr. Laura Salvador, a meteorologist for the National Hurricane Center in Miami.
Salvador said Gabrielle appeared to be headed northeast, with some of the outer winds possibly "scraping the coast of South Carolina." Related rain squalls were expected throughout much of Florida through Saturday..