LIVE OAK, Fla. (AP) — Florida officials said Thursday that Tropical Storm Debby was responsible for seven deaths in the state.

State emergency operations spokeswoman Jessica Sims said that two people died in Pinellas County, including a 41-year-old woman caught in a riptide Wednesday at St. Pete Beach.

She was among eight people pulled from rip currents on St. Pete Beach on Wednesday. On Thursday morning, lifeguards on Clearwater Beach helped three people from the water who got caught in a rip current.

Storm-related deaths were also reported in Highlands, Pasco, Polk, Lake and Madison counties. They include a Highlands County woman who died in a tornado spawned by the storm on Sunday, as well as a 71-year-old man who suffered a heart attack and was found dead in flood waters outside his Indian Rocks Beach home in Pinellas County.

In addition, a South Carolina man disappeared Sunday off Alabama's Orange Beach in rough waters churned up by the storm.

Authorities said Wednesday they had suspended a five-day-old search for a 32-year-old Eric Pye of Summerville, S.C., after dozens of searchers using boats and sonar had failed to locate him.

The Orange Beach safety director, Melvin Shephard, told The Associated Press that accounts indicate Pye was wading near the beach's edge Sunday when the backwash of a large wave dragged him into the Gulf of Mexico. Debby was churning up 8- to 10-foot waves there at the time, he added.

Debby hovered in the Gulf of Mexico for days before slowly blowing across northern Florida this week; the storm dumped more than two feet of water in some parts.

On Thursday, Gov. Rick Scott traveled to some of the hardest-hit areas in Florida to survey flood damages. He told officials and some victims that he empathized with them.

"I grew up in the Midwest and the Missouri River used to flood," said Scott, who was raised in Kansas City. "You think about it as you go down and see the families who are devastated when their houses are under water."

Scott noted that the Suwannee River has yet to crest.

"There's more to come," he said.

Suwannee County Sheriff Tony Cameron said he hadn't seen so much flooding in Live Oak and surrounding areas since 1964, when he was 11 and Hurricane Dora flooded the small, north-central Florida community. Then, he helped his grandfather pump water out of the city.

"The problem we have right now is sink holes, that's our number one problem at this time," Cameron said Thursday afternoon. "We've got a lot of roads that are still under water. There are probably 300 cars scattered around the county sitting under water."

More than 150 people remained in shelters in Suwannee and Pasco counties on Thursday.

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Associated Press writer Tamara Lush in St. Petersburg contributed to this report.

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  • Black skimmer

    In this Sunday, June 24, 2012 photo provided by Lou Newman, a black skimmer chick is covered in sand at Anna Maria beach in Bradenton, Fla. Wind and waves produced by Tropical Storm Debby destroyed many nesting bird sites and turtle nests along the west coast of Florida. (AP Photo/Lou Newman)

  • Kursty Setty, right, reacts as she stands in her uncle's flooded pet store Live Oak Fla., Wednesday, June 27, 2012. Dozens of homes and businesses were flooded by torrential rains from Tropical Storm Debby. (AP Photo/Dave Martin)

  • Personal photographs float under the floodwater outside homes in Live Oak Fla., Wednesday, June 27, 2012. Dozens of homes and businesses were flooded by torrential rains from Tropical Storm Debby. (AP Photo/Dave Martin)

  • Tropical Storm Debby

    A man paddles through flood waters from Tropical Storm Debby in downtown Live Oak, Fla. on Tuesday, June 26, 2012. The National Hurricane Center says Debby has weakened to a tropical depression as it continues to move across Florida, bringing flooding to many areas. (AP Photo/The Gainesville Sun, Matt Stamey)

  • Shanne Piet, right, transfers one of his live snakes into a dry cage with help from J.D. Crews after opening up his flooded pet shop in Live Oak Fla., Wednesday, June 27, 2012. Dozens of homes and businesses were flooded by torrential rains from Tropical Storm Debby. (AP Photo/Dave Martin)

  • Tarra Piet, right, is embraced by her cousin Kursty Setty as they stand in Piet's fathers' flooded pet store Live Oak Fla., Wednesday, June 27, 2012. Dozens of homes and businesses were flooded by torrential rains from Tropical Storm Debby. (AP Photo/Dave Martin)

  • Kursty Setty paddles a small boat away from her uncle's flooded pet shop in Live Oak Fla., Wednesday, June 27, 2012. Dozens of homes and businesses were flooded by torrential rains from Tropical Storm Debby. (AP Photo/Dave Martin)

  • Black skimmer

    In this Sunday, June 24, 2012 photo provided by Lou Newman, a black skimmer chick is covered in sand at Anna Maria beach in Bradenton, Fla. Wind and waves produced by Tropical Storm Debby destroyed many nesting bird sites and turtle nests along the west coast of Florida. (AP Photo/Lou Newman)

  • Shawn Thomas, with the Clay County Engineering Division, checks out CR 218 west of Middleburg, Fla., where the road washed out overnight Wednesday, June 26, 2012. Heavy rains from Tropical Storm Debby were the cause of the floods. (AP Photo/The Florida Times-Union, Will Dickey)

  • Clay County engineers and contractors inspect CR 218 west of Middleburg, Fla. Wednesday, June 27, 2012, after the road washed out overnight. Heavy rains from Tropical Storm Debby were the cause of the floods. (AP Photo/The Florida Times-Union, Will Dickey)

  • Natalie Bickford, left, reacts to the flooding of her neighbors' homes as she take a boat ride with her husband Mark Bickford, right, and Chad Mullen in the floodwaters of Black Creek Wednesday, June 27, 2012 in Middleburg, Fla. Heavy rains from Tropical Storm Debby were the cause of the floods. (AP Photo/The Florida Times-Union, Will Dickey)

  • A home is inundated by floodwaters from Tropical Storm Debby in Lafayette County, Fla., on Wednesday, June 27, 2012. Debby destroyed homes and businesses, washed away roads and flooded neighborhoods in Florida before the once-large tropical storm drifted out to sea Wednesday, leaving behind a sopping mess. (AP Photo/The Gainesville Sun, Doug Finger)

  • Bill Koon prepares to trailer a boat after using it to move about floodwaters from Tropical Storm Debby in Lafayette County, Fla., on Wednesday, June 27, 2012. Debby destroyed homes and businesses, washed away roads and flooded neighborhoods in Florida before the once-large tropical storm drifted out to sea Wednesday, leaving behind a sopping mess. (AP Photo/The Gainesville Sun, Doug Finger)

  • A home is inundated by floodwaters from Tropical Storm Debby in Lafayette County, Fla., on Wednesday, June 27, 2012. Debby destroyed homes and businesses, washed away roads and flooded neighborhoods in Florida before the once-large tropical storm drifted out to sea Wednesday, leaving behind a sopping mess. (AP Photo/The Gainesville Sun, Doug Finger)

  • A home is inundated by floodwaters from Tropical Storm Debby in Lafayette County, Fla., on Wednesday, June 27, 2012. Debby destroyed homes and businesses, washed away roads and flooded neighborhoods in Florida before the once-large tropical storm drifted out to sea Wednesday, leaving behind a sopping mess. (AP Photo/The Gainesville Sun, Doug Finger)

  • Mickey Anderson, 64, arrives at his house after wading through floodwaters from Tropical Storm Debby in Lafayette County, Fla., on Wednesday, June 27, 2012. Debby destroyed homes and businesses, washed away roads and flooded neighborhoods in Florida before the once-large tropical storm drifted out to sea Wednesday, leaving behind a sopping mess. (AP Photo/The Gainesville Sun, Doug Finger)

  • A street sign is inundated by floodwaters from Tropical Storm Debby in Lafayette County, Fla., on Wednesday, June 27, 2012. Debby destroyed homes and businesses, washed away roads and flooded neighborhoods in Florida before the once-large tropical storm drifted out to sea Wednesday, leaving behind a sopping mess. (AP Photo/The Gainesville Sun, Doug Finger)

  • Jarred Schreck, 12, second from left, and his neighbors Reba Hurst and her husband Wendell use a boat to get to their house inundated by floodwaters from Tropical Storm Debby in Lafayette County, Fla., on Wednesday, June 27, 2012. Debby destroyed homes and businesses, washed away roads and flooded neighborhoods in Florida before the once-large tropical storm drifted out to sea Wednesday, leaving behind a sopping mess. (AP Photo/The Gainesville Sun, Doug Finger)

  • In this June 19, 2012 photo provided by Plaquemines Parish Government, tern chicks washed out of their nests huddle on higher ground on Cat Island West, due to a rising tide in advance of Tropical Storm Debby, when it was categorized as a tropical depression, just outside of New Orleans in Barataria Bay. (AP Photo/Plaquemines Parish Government, P.J. Hahn)

  • Tropical Storm Debby

    Water sneaks into a restaurant in Cedar Key, Fla. as Tropical Storm Debby churns on the Florida Gulf coast waiting to makes its way across the Gulf of Mexico early Sunday, June 24, 2012. (AP Photo/Phil Sandlin)

  • TROPICAL STORM DEBBY

    Waves crash against the coast in Fort Walton Beach, Fla. as wind, waves, and storm from Tropical Storm Debby pound the Florida panhandle Sunday, June 24, 2012. Louisiana's governor declared a state of emergency as the storm threatens to flood low-lying coastal areas. (AP Photo/Northwest Florida Daily, Devon Ravine)

  • Tropical Storm Debby

    High winds, high tide strike at the main street of Cedar Key, Fla., as Tropical Storm Debby makes it's way across the Gulf of Mexico early Sunday, June 24, 2012. Parts of Florida, including the Panhandle, remain under a tropical storm warning as Debby churns off the Gulf Coast. (AP Photo/Phil Sandlin)

  • In this June 19, 2012 photo provided by the Plaquemines Parish Government, a pelican nest is inundated on Cat Island West, due to a rising tide in advance of Tropical Storm Debby, when it was categorized as a tropical depression, in Barataria Bay, just outside of New Orleans. (AP Photo/P.J. Hahn, Plaquemines Parish Government, handout)

  • Cedar Key Fire Chief Robert Robinson walks on a section of a floating dock that broke loose during a storm surge from Tropical Storm Debby in Cedar Key, Fla., on Sunday, June 24, 2012. Slow-moving Tropical Storm Debby's outer bands lashed Florida with rain and kicked up rough surf off Alabama on Sunday, prompting storm warnings for those states. (AP Photo/The Gainesville Sun, Brad McClenny)

  • Cedar Key Police Chief Virgil Sandlin steps onto a section of a floating dock to secure it as strong storm surge and flooding are felt from Tropical Storm Debby in Cedar Key, Fla., Sunday, June 24, 2012. Sandlin said it was like riding a bronco trying to keep balance on the dock. Slow-moving Tropical Storm Debby's outer bands lashed Florida with rain and kicked up rough surf off Alabama on Sunday, prompting storm warnings for those states and causing at least one death. (AP Photo/The Gainesville Sun, Brad McClenny)

  • Cedar Key Fire Chief Robert Robinson clings to a section of a floating dock that broke free from the rest as strong storm surge and flooding are felt from Tropical Storm Debby, in Cedar Key, Fla., Sunday, June 24, 2012. Robinson tries to attach a chain to the dock section so it can be lifted out of the Gulf by a forklift. Slow-moving Tropical Storm Debby's outer bands lashed Florida with rain and kicked up rough surf off Alabama on Sunday, prompting storm warnings for those states and causing at least one death. (AP Photo/The Gainesville Sun, Brad McClenny)

  • Cedar Key Police Chief Virgil Sandlin works on his hands an knees to secure a section of a floating dock as strong storm surge and flooding are felt from Tropical Storm Debby, in Cedar Key, Fla., Sunday, June 24, 2012. Sandlin said it was like riding a bronco trying to keep balance on the dock. Slow-moving Tropical Storm Debby's outer bands lashed Florida with rain and kicked up rough surf off Alabama on Sunday, prompting storm warnings for those states and causing at least one death. (AP Photo/The Gainesville Sun, Brad McClenny)

  • NOAA CLOUDS

    This NOAA satellite image taken Monday, June 25, 2012 at 1:45 a.m. EDT shows Tropical Storm Debby located about 90 miles southwest of Apalachicola, Florida with maximum sustained winds near 60 mph and higher gusts. A Tropical Storm Warning remains in effect for areas from the Mississippi-Alabama border eastward to the Suwannee River Florida. A Tropical Storm Watch is in effect for areas south of the Suwannee River to Englewood, Florida. (AP PHOTO/WEATHER UNDERGROUND)

  • This photo provided by the Florida Highway Patrol shows a patrol car blocking passage on the Sunshine Skyway bridge near St. Petersburg, Fla. Monday, June 25, 2012. The bridge was closed in both directions after wind was reported at 52 miles per hour. Off the coast since the weekend, Tropical Storm Debby raked the Tampa Bay area with high wind and heavy rain in a drenching that could top 2 feet over the next few days and trigger widespread flooding. (AP Photo/Florida Highway Patrol)

  • Cars try to avoid a beach umbrella as it is pushed around by the high winds of Tropical Storm Debby in Panama City, Fla., on Monday, June 25, 2012. (AP Photo/The News Herald/Panama City, Fla., Andrew Wardlow)

  • In this June 19, 2012 photo provided by the Plaquemines Parish Government, a tern chick is washed out of its nest on Cat Island Westdue to a rising tide in advance of Tropical Storm Debby, when it was categorized as a tropical depression, just outside of New Orleans in Barataria Bay. (AP Photo/Plaquemines Parish Government, P.J. Hahn)

  • Wendy Slaughter, left, helps Pat Boninsh, center, tie down the covering on their Cedar Key, Fla., boat rental docking porch as Jacqueline Slaughter, right, makes sure it's complete. High winds and rain from Tropical Storm Debby drenches the Gulf coast as it makes it's way across the Gulf of Mexico early Sunday, June 24, 2012. (AP Photo/Phil Sandlin)

  • Hank Parker

    Surfer Hank Parker heads out to catch waves in Dauphin Island, Ala., Sunday, June 24, 2012, as Tropical Storm Debby churned off the Gulf Coast, leaving wary residents to closely watch a storm whose path has so far been difficult to forecast. Warnings were issued for coastal Alabama, low-lying coastal areas in Louisiana and parts of Florida, including the Panhandle. (AP Photo/Mobile Register, Mike Kittrell)

  • Tropical Storm Debby

    Police Chief Darryl Wilson waves in surfers as a storm warning is issued in Dauphin Island, Ala., Sunday, June 24, 2012, as Tropical Storm Debby churned off the Gulf Coast, leaving wary residents to closely watch a storm whose path has so far been difficult to forecast. Warnings were issued for coastal Alabama, low-lying coastal areas in Louisiana and parts of Florida, including the Panhandle. (AP Photo/Mobile Register, Mike Kittrell)

  • Peggy Hill, on vacation from Pittsburgh, Pa., runs alongside a cliff eroded into the beach, caused by waves spawned by Tropical Storm Debby, in Ocean Reef Park on Singer Island in Riviera Beach, Fla., Wednesday afternoon, June 27, 2012. At the top of the bank, orange and yellow markers designating sea turtle nests sit perilously close to the edge. (AP Photo/Palm Beach Postm Lannis Waters)



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