Tropical Storm Debby has departed Florida, with residents coming out of shelters and their sealed-up homes to see the aftermath: and it isn’t pretty.
As National Hurricane Center downgraded Debby from a tropical storm to a post-tropical cyclone, the storm moved out to the Atlantic.
The scene it left behind, reports the Daily Mail, will take weeks to clean up.
And little wonder, for Debby produced rain in excess of two feet in some areas of the sunshine state, while Jacksonville recorded its largest two-day rainfall. Live Oak in northern Florida (from where the image above is taken) might have endured the worst of it. There, water reached the top of houses, and cars were entirely submerged.
As well as destroying homes, roads and more than 100 businesses, Debby was responsible for thousands of civilians losing their power (though this has since been restored) and at least three deaths.
The tropical storm had formed in the Gulf of Mexico on Saturday, before heading for Florida, which endured rain for several days. ‘The water came in so fast last night,’ resident Johnny Torres told the Mail. ‘We were lucky to get out what we could.’
And the problems are far from over: while Debby may have left town, emergency management experts predict the aftermath will continue to cause problems thanks to lakes and rivers becoming swollen with the record rainfall.
Many rivers in the state reached record levels, according to Brian Koon, the director of the Florida Division of Emergency Management (FEMA). The Sopchoppy river, for one, peaked on Wednesday at 36.1 feet. Prior to Debby’s appearance, the river was 8 feet high. Koon estimated:
‘It’s not over. We’ve got a long way to go. We’ll be dealing with flooding for the next week.’
A full damage assessment will be delivered on Friday by FEMA. On the bright side, reports a glass-half-full New York Times, queues at Disney World were non-existent for those who braved the weather.