Photo by CHARLEY DRESSEL Damage to a house on Lake June.
published: Wednesday, June 27, 2012
Debby brings rain and problems
By ED BALDRIDGE
SEBRING -- "We need this rain, but not the other stuff," said Emergency Management Director Scott Canaday on Tuesday.
According to Canaday, the recent storm activity is expected to beginning to clear on Thursday as Tropical Storm Debby continues the east, northeast path across the state into the Atlantic.
The maximum sustained winds of the storm, according to the National Hurricane Center, has been near 45 mph, barely enough to classify Debby as a tropical storm.
The Hurricane Center estimates between 4-6 inches of rain have already fallen in Highlands, with more to come. Some estimates could exceed 10 inches overall.
According to the Southwest Florida Water Management data, Highlands County only had 6.78 inches of rain in June of 2011.
But the turmoil caused by TS Debby hit home on Sunday when a tornado killed one and injured others in Highlands County.
Gloria Rybinski, Information Officer for the Board of County Commissioners, relayed a report of 12 homes damaged, including six of them with "significant" damage and four that were "just simply gone."
"We have five or six families displaced right now, and we have offered the shelter, but all have declined so far," Rybinski said.
The reports on the exact number of tornadoes that touched Sunday down vary between three and four.
Another tornado was reported Tuesday morning near Bassinger, but there were no reports of injuries.
According to Highlands County Sheriff's Office Public Information Officer Nell Hays, homes in Lorida, Venus, and Lake Placid suffered damage as a band of the tropical storm moved across the county creating havoc and electrical outages.
Most of the electricity outages have been corrected at press time.
Canaday said the tally was not complete, but he was "praying that the rain continues but we don't have any more of the damage."
The flooding hitting the west coast is not such a concern here on the ridge, Canaday said.
"Just some minor flooding. We have some reports of standing water, but nothing serious reported yet," Canaday said Tuesday morning on his way to a briefing.
Property damage was also reported from a tornado touching down in Hardee County near Bowling Green Sunday.
More information about disaster preparedness can be found on the county's EMS website at www.hceoc.org/.
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