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Clock is ticking for holder of $590 million Powerball ticket

A Publix grocery store in Zephyrhills, Fla., sold a Powerball ticket worth $590.5 million, the second-largest lottery jackpot in history, to one lucky winner. NBC's Kerry Sanders reports.

The clock is ticking for the luckiest person in America.

Whoever bought the winning $590 million Powerball ticket at a Publix supermarket in Florida has two months to come forward, a shorter window than in some other states.

But on Monday, the winner’s identity remained a mystery — and the subject of a guessing game that everybody was playing in Zephyrhills, a city of about 13,000 outside Tampa that is better known for its national brand of bottled water.

“I’m getting text messages and messages from Facebook going, ‘Uh, did you win the lottery?’” Sandra Lewis told The Associated Press. “No, I didn’t win, guys. Sorry.”

We know this much: Whoever bought the ticket beat odds of about 175 million to 1 to choose the winning numbers drawn Saturday night — 10, 13, 14, 22 and 52, with a Powerball of 11.

If it’s a single winner — not one ticket held by a pool at the office or among friends — that person will apparently claim the largest jackpot awarded to one person in American history: $370 million if he or she takes a lump-sum payment.

The largest jackpot was a $656 million prize last year in another multi-state drawing, Mega Millions, but that prize was split among three winners in Maryland, Kansas and Illinois.

In some other states, even for the same national Powerball jackpot, the winner would have a year to come forward. In Iowa in 2011, a winner waited 364 days and 22 hours to claim a $14 million state jackpot.

And Florida has no state income tax, so if the winner lives there — and wasn’t just in town for Zephyrhills’ popular skydiving tours — he or she will save millions more.

Lottery officials in Florida did not seem surprised that no one had claimed the prize in the first two days.

“It never happens this quickly,” said David Bishop, a Florida lottery spokesman. “If they know they won, they’re going to contact their attorney or an accountant first so they can get their affairs in order.”

Meanwhile, the jackpot would be enough to fund the city of Zephyrills for 12 years, based on their current budget — but the $148 million in estimated federal income taxes is only enough to power the U.S. government for about a half-hour.

The ticket is also good for an $85,000 bonus commission for the Publix supermarket. For thousands of other people, though, it’s good for nothing.

“I wish it was me,” Cindy Frappier said as she walked out of the Publix on Sunday. “But it wasn’t.”

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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