Tropical Storm Debby continues to pound Florida, moving slowly eastward over the Gulf Coast and threatening to dump even more rain on the already waterlogged state. At this rate it is expected to take another two days to finally clear Florida before moving out into the Atlantic and posing no further threat to the Eastern Seaboard.
Some counties have seen as much as 20 inches of rain during Debby’s visit, with many roads underwater in the area where the panhandle meets the peninsula. Another 4 to 8 inches of rain is expected before Debby makes her exit. Some tornado activity is also expected during this time, and local residents are advised to remain alert and aware of rapidly changing weather conditions.
Debby had top sustained winds of 45-50 mph, and is expected to weaken by Thursday after being over land for an extended period. Once it moves back into the Atlantic, it may reform into a tropical storm, but the threat will have passed.
Tropical storm warnings remain in effect for much of Florida’s Gulf Coast and may be extended even farther inland as the storm progresses. The governor on Monday declared a state of emergency and ordered all state agencies to provide all necessary assistance during the storm conditions and the immediate aftermath.
Debby is the first tropical storm this hurricane season to form in the Gulf of Mexico, and has successfully curtailed about a quarter of the oil production in the region. After Monday, though, most oil producers were able to resume production as the storm moved eastward.
Flash flooding has also been a problem in the area, with many roads already underwater. Flooding as a result of storms like Debby are responsible for most storm related fatalities. In addition, tens of thousands have been left without power, and twisters have wrecked homes, businesses, and been responsible for at least two deaths.
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