Debby Douses Tally in Slow-Motion Surge through Gulf

Leon County saw hours of nonstop rain from Tropical Storm Debby this weekend. Portions of Interstate 10 were closed early Tuesday due to flooding, as Debby continues to move slowly across Apalachee Bay towards the eastern Big Bend.

The National Hurricane Center said Debby was about 85 miles west of Cedar Key, Fla., and moving eastward near 3 mph. It had maximum sustained winds near 45 mph, barely tropical-storm status. The intensity has dropped, but Tallahassee residents should expect heavy rainfall throughout the day.

Some Tallahassee residents called the storm unremarkable, but others said it was more than they could ever imagined. 

“The weather was really not a big deal,” said Tallahassee resident Nasheema Harvey, a Florida A&M graduate and native of Fort Lauderdale who weathered Hurricane Andrew in the early 90s and Wilma in 2005. “I have experienced some real hurricanes in my lifetime…Those storms did some serious damage and brought down more than just a few inches of rain.”

Tropical Storm Debby gave Tallahassee a beating from Sunday, dumping five inches of rain hourly in some areas. Tallahassee Regional Airport reported 8.94 inches of rain. Portions of Wakulla County, south of Tallahassee, reported 26 inches of rain in the last 72 hours.

“This is my first time in a ‘named’ storm,” said Ismael Sangare, international student from the Cote d’Ivoire, Africa. “I have never experienced a storm like this. The worst part about this experienced is that my television stopped working but I found the experience enlightening. Mother nature is serious.”

As of 11:00 a.m. Tuesday, the city had approximately 130 customers without electric service, typically in small groups of 5-10 customers scattered throughout the service area.

The constant rain of Tropical Storm Debby had its effects on buildings around campus as well, including in and around the university’s School of Journalism & Graphic Communication.

Rainfall rates should not be as high today in the eastern Big Bend including Tallahassee and aviation conditions will continue improving today and tonight at Tallahassee Regional Airport.