JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Winn-Dixie Stores released all non-critical employees from its headquarters here yesterday as a precaution amid heavy flooding from Tropical Storm Fay, but operators around the state contacted by SN said they suffered no damage to stores. “We released people early so they could get home safely,” Robin Miller, a spokeswoman for Winn-Dixie, told SN. Some Publix Super Markets stores around the state closed early yesterday, according to Maria Brous, a spokeswoman for Publix. Most grocery stores were able to continue operating in areas that were already flooded, including Barefoot Bay and Melbourne, both in Brevard County. Albertson’s LLC stores in Florida have not had damage or closings from the storm, a spokeswoman said. Agriculture officials were uncertain about the extent of crop damage, although early reports indicated that citrus crops appeared to be spared. “We do need water — we have been in a three-year drought — but we don’t like that much water at one time,” said Kevin Morgan, director of agricultural policy for the Florida Farm Bureau in Tallahassee. Peanuts, corn, cotton and other crops in northern Florida could be damaged, if the area gets more than around 10 inches of rain, Morgan said. Some pastures and farms in Brevard County are flooded, but the Florida Farm Bureau did not have any estimates on crop losses. The flooding was so bad in portions of Brevard County, which was expected to receive up to 30 inches of rain by the time the storm leaves the state, that Gov. Charlie Crist asked President Bush for emergency federal aid.
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