Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Tropical Storm Debby rains misery on flooded Florida

Michael Peltier in Reuters: Tropical Storm Debby weakened to a tropical depression after it drifted ashore on Florida's Gulf Coast on Tuesday, even as it dumped more rain on flooded areas and sent thousands of people fleeing from rising rivers. After stalling in the Gulf for two days, the large and ragged storm finally began moving eastward. The center crossed the shore late on Tuesday afternoon near Steinhatchee, in the Big Bend area where the Panhandle joins the peninsula, and later took an unexpected turn to the southeast.

Most of the thunderstorms and rain were northeast of the storm center and had already dumped 2 feet of rain over parts of Florida. Local media reports said a man died after his canoe capsized on Lake Dorr in Ocala National Forest, a few hours before Debby made landfall. It was at least the second storm-related death in Florida and occurred when the man drowned while trying to help his girlfriend and two daughters back to shore in the rough waters, the reports 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.

Debby's top winds weakened to 35 miles per hour (55 km per hour) on Tuesday evening, just below the threshold to remain a tropical storm. Little change in intensity was expected, as its center slogged across the northern Florida peninsula, and it was seen emerging over the Atlantic Ocean by Wednesday evening, where it could strengthen again into a tropical storm, the forecasters said...

NASA shot of Debby on June 25, 2012

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