June 26th, 2012, 09:27 PM
Tropical Storm Debby--
She ain't over yet. She's still sitting close to the coast, generating incredible rain, and probably won't be finished with Florida for another couple of days.
In an historic vein, there have never been 4 recognized tropical storms prior to July 1st-- at least since 1885 when whomever it was began to keep weather records. Now there are. For two days, Debby's center has churned up the waters of the Gulf very close to the site of the horrible BP oil spill in 2010, and the intense rain bands that she is spewing contain deluges that are being described as "historic". And I'm right in the middle of it.
Sunday, I drove from St Pete to Ocala, about 100 miles, every mile in rain that went from heavy to really scary. Debby's rains had begun the night before, and by noon as I was making the trip home, the swales were filling, the creeks were rushing and sewers couldn't handle the volume of water. Roads were flooding and things were getting serious. Traffic on the Interstate was down to 30-35 most of the way, and the rain never let up during the entire harrowing trip. It was a true passage through hell.
At home, I splashed through streets I have known well for 14 years, and saw some of them heavily flooded for the first time, ever. The rain went on all night, rock steady, releasing yet another surreal moment--a thunderstorm amidst a tropical storm. Those two don't co-exist. A tropical tends to move across the ground quickly, preventing the formation of large thunderheads, so when I saw the flash and heard the BOOM!!, I freaked. That was NOT supposed to be there!!!
There were also a dozen tornadoes spawned across the state, killing some people.
By morning, the folks who know these things were telling me that we had nearly 10 inches of rain in 36 hours, and a glance out the window confirmed that another two, three were in the making. I splashed off to work, listened to it storm all day ( I couldn't get to my car at lunchtime, the deluge was so intense) and heard talk of 13 inches in Ocala by nightfall Monday, and when I got up this morning, that was the number. Some roads were under a few inches and a few intersections were worthy of a moment on the 6 o'clock News. The swales (ditches along the roadside ) are full to the edge of the road and retention ponds are at maximum.--But overall, Ocala seems to have handled this.
It's rained on and off all day. The word "historic" has been used a lot, by people on television with maps. Sometimes the rain's a sudden deluge, or it's a light misty puff sweeping across a barren parking lot, but it is constant and it has gone on all day. Newspeople are telling us not to drive anywhere for awhile.
Right now, at 9PM, it's quiet, but some more is on the way later tonight. Some places just to the north have had 16'-18': St Mark's, a picaresque Barrier Island along the North Gulf Coast, got 28". (Twentyeight inches since Sunday!!!). St Pete, a city with the density of Brooklyn, has had 10"-12" and the glamorous Bayshore Blvd in Tampa--which got about the same--is 3 feet deep and rising. Fish are spawning in the streets of Clearwater. All this since Saturday night...
--Apalachicola got 19" and Jacksonville got pounded for 2 days--and still is. Maybe 18" there, too.
--I-10, the main E/W freeway is closed for 100 miles, right at I-75, the main N/S freeway.
--I-4 has been closed near Orlando, sections of it under water.
--Sinkholes are forming, swallowing up big trucks.
Much of N Florida and the Gulf coast is a soggy mess, a slow-moving disaster.
At least the drought-- which was also described as "historic" as recently as last week-- has been broken and the aquifer that Florida floats on is being recharged.
( And, as I was typing that last sentence, it suddenly began to rain heavily and the wind just got very intense; a transformer nearby just blew and I heard thunder).
-- She ain't over. Not yet.
Last edited by Hof; June 27th, 2012 at 11:53 PM.
June 27th, 2012, 07:30 AM
Crabby airline hostess -
I hope everyone in your household is doing ok.
June 27th, 2012, 11:26 PM
Thanks for your concern.
Everyone, which includes my son, my sister, my cousin(s), grandkids, daughter, brother and assorted best friends have all been bathed in Debby's rain, some more than others, and everyone came out of it OK save for a few leaky porches and overflowing swimming pools. Each of them, scattered in small clusters from Ocala to Naples, saw at least ten inches of rain fall in 72 hours. Some saw more, including a friend who lives in rural Marion County and can't get off his property because his house is an island in a deep lake and the only place for all this excessive rainwater to go is into the nearby river, which is out of its banks and flowing like cool brown lava from a flat volcano. That was his description, verbatim.
The Interstates are still closed, miles of the Big Slab under the water. The I-75 /I-10 junction is closed for about 100 miles on 10 and 60 miles on 75, and will probably stay closed until the water goes somewhere else or evaporates. No Interstate highway anywhere has been closed for this long due to standing water ( save for a 10-mile stretch of I-4 east of Tampa, sometime in the early '80s), particularly in Florida where they are carefully designed to remain unflooded, regardless of the weather.
This slow-moving disaster is slithering along, flooding a lot of little towns and engorging every river, stream and swale in the state. It's really odd to look at large open fields along either side of the road, flooded right up to the concrete. It's like driving along a causeway. Florida is flat, remember, so today much of the state resembles a kitchen table after a 2-litre bottle of milk has spilled onto it, and more milk will be delivered soon.
Today was perfect, sort of. It was somewhat cloudy early on, but by late morning the sun was busy turning huge puddles into astronomical relative humidities and the blue skies had no memory of the deep, dark clouds that once owned the air above. The sun prevails and it's a steambath around here. The moment I walked out of my air conditioned workplace, my sunglasses fogged up so heavily that I had to de-fog them in front of my car's A/C vent, and sweat darkened my shirt completely as I trudged to the car. Tonight, crickets are peacefully cricking in the back yard, in between the puddles, and my lawn has sprouted an inch in a day. It squishes when I walk on it.
When I get some official rain totals I'll post them, but you could look it up. They will all be incredible, historic, never-before-seen record-breakers. And newspeople are saying that the flooding will grow more intense in the coming days and won't be at it's peak for about a week, and that the residual effects of this storm will linger through July. ( The LAST thing we need here right now is another storm, dumping even more rain on our soggy geography. Watch that happen--it's inevitible.)
Debby's gone, finally, but her resume' is still being composed.
Last edited by Hof; June 27th, 2012 at 11:59 PM.