Torrential rains and storm surge from Tropical Storm Debby, which has remained nearly stationary off the Gulf Coast of Florida, may produce significant inland flooding over the next couple of days, reported the NOAA’s National Weather Services. While the storm is predicted to reach the Florida panhandle by Thursday, residents struggle to protect their homes and businesses as rain and winds continue to pelt the coastline.
Tropical Storm Debby brings more rain to flooded Florida
TALLAHASSEE, Florida (Reuters) – Tropical Storm Debby weakened as it drifted slowly eastward over Florida on Tuesday and threatened to dump more rain on already flooded areas.
After stalling in the Gulf of Mexico, the storm was finally moving but was expected to take two more days to finish its wet slog across Florida.
“We will have sunshine for the weekend but a lot of wet ground,” said Bryan Koon, director of the Florida Division of Emergency Management.
Nearly 20 inches of rain has fallen in two days on Wakulla County, a Gulf Coast county famed for its natural springs. Roads were under water in many parts of the surrounding “Big Bend” area where the Florida Panhandle meets the peninsula.
Parts of Interstate 10 were closed between the capital, Tallahassee, and the Atlantic coast city of Jacksonville. The storm left 29,000 people without power across the central and northern parts of the state, emergency managers said.
Forecasters at the National Hurricane Center said Debby could bring another 4 to 8 inches of rain and possibly tornadoes to north Florida and southeast Georgia in the next two days.