Tropical storm Isabel blustered along the northeastern Florida coast with wind, rain and high surf today and by evening weakened to a tropical depression.

Gale warnings were discontinued at 6 p.m. from St. Augustine to Savannah, Ga., although minor flooding was predicted along the Georgia coast.

"We've had northeasters a lot worse than this thing," Ron Waterman, an employe at the fishing pier at Jacksonville Beach, said of the occasional storms that bring strong, beach-eroding winds.

In St. Augustine, 30 miles to the south, officials said the storm's impact was small even when its center was just offshore.

"It's raining a little. The wind is blowing. There are no problems," said Sgt. John Bower of the St. Johns County sheriff's office.

By evening, the highest sustained winds diminished to 35 mph in a few squalls and the storm's center was about 40 miles east-southeast of Brunswick, Ga., and moving northwest at 10 to 15 mph.

Although minor beach erosion was reported, much of Isabel's punch hit at low tide, lessening damage from the waves.

Meanwhile, rain stretched from Oklahoma across Missouri and Illinois into lower Michigan in the wake of Hurricane Waldo, a Pacific storm that moved northward from Mexico.

Waldo's remnants dumped as much as 5 inches of rain on Oklahoma, Kansas and Missouri during nonstop downpours overnight.

More than 5 inches of rain fell in Wichita, where emergency crews helped motorists trapped in their cars by water gushing up to headlight depth.

In Iowa, the Chariton River and Cedar Creek flooded their banks, inundating thousands of acres of farmland. Nearly 6 inches of rain fell at Parkville, Mo., almost 5 1/2 at Matfield Green, Kan., and nearly 5 1/2 at Gage, Okla.

In southeastern New Mexico, 6.6 inches of rain doused Hobbs, and city officials delivered about 3,300 sandbags to businesses and homeowners.