Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Storm Surge

Tropical Storm Debby is really soaking northern Florida.

Tropical Storm Debby whipped Florida with bands of drenching rain Monday while its center was nearly stationary in the Gulf of Mexico. Its slow progress meant the most pressing threat from the storm was flooding, not wind.

Florida governor Rick Scott declared a statewide emergency, and a tropical storm warning was in effect for most of the state’s Gulf Coast, as the storm parked offshore.

A tropical storm warning for the coast of Alabama was discontinued early Monday. Yet even with the storm’s center far from land, it lashed Florida with heavy rains and spawned isolated tornadoes that killed at least one person. Another person was missing in rough surf off Alabama.

Residents in several counties near the crook of Florida’s elbow were urged to leave low-lying neighborhoods because of the threat of flooding.

Offshore oil and gas operators in the Gulf of Mexico are also evacuating more than 30 percent of production platforms and rigs that are in the path of Debby. The storm is moving slowly, allowing its clouds more time to unload rain.

It now looks as if the storm will head east across the state towards Jacksonville. Benjamin at The Spencerian reports in from Gulfport, which is near St. Pete, to say that he and his family made it through okay, although there was a lot of local flooding.

Sometimes tropical storms can be as bad or worse than hurricanes; it’s not just the wind that sucks.