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Tropical Storm Colin dumps rain across southeast United States

Tropical Storm Colin has made landfall in northern Florida unleashing heavy rains and strong winds. Some 6,000 members of the National Guard have been alerted and a state of emergency declared.

The tropical storm was expected to unleash up to 10 inches (25cm) of rain in some areas as its maximum sustained winds reached 50 mph (85 kmh), the US National Hurricane Center said early Tuesday local time.

Forecasts predicted the storm crossing northern Florida and southeastern Georgia over the next few hours before moving across the southeastern coast of the United States.

The National Hurricane Center warned tropical-storm-forces winds could extend 230 miles (370 km) from the center.

Florida Governor Rick Scott on Monday declared a state of emergency in half the state's counties and activated 6,000 National Guard members.

"It is critical that all Floridians use caution and remain alert," he said in the statement.

The storm caused flooding and knocked out electricity to at least 10,000 people from the Tampa Bay area to Jacksonville. No major damage had been reported.

Forecasters warned the storm could cause damage and further flooding into the morning. The National Hurricane Center warned of dangerous surf and surge-related flooding along the coast.

The storm also threatened Florida's citrus crop. US orange juice futures on Monday reached their highest level in two years amid concern over damage to the country's biggest citrus producer.

cw/jm (AP, Reuters)

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