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    Former storm Debby churns away from sodden Florida

    TALLAHASSEE, Florida (Reuters) - The remnants of Tropical Storm Debby moved out into the open Atlantic on Wednesday and rains finally eased over Florida but the state was struggling to clean up the soggy mess left behind.

    In Debby's wake were flooded homes and businesses, roads under water or cratered with sinkholes, and overflowing rivers that sent thousands fleeing for higher ground.

    Emergency managers said it was too early to gauge the extent of the damage. About 11,000 customers were without electric power in 39 counties on Wednesday, down from 29,000 on Tuesday.

    The storm deluged parts of central and northern Florida with more than two feet of rain as it hovered in the Gulf of Mexico and cut across the peninsula. It was downgraded to a tropical depression when its winds died down on Tuesday night.

    By Wednesday afternoon it was just a disorganized mass of thunderstorms out in the Atlantic, falling apart as it sped away from the Florida coast.

    "Rainfall associated with Debby will continue to diminish across the Florida Peninsula today," forecasters at the U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami said.

    Two Florida deaths were blamed on the storm and medical examiners were trying to determine whether two others were storm-related.

    A central Florida woman in Polk County was killed when her car hydro-planed on a flooded road and a woman in neighboring Highlands County was killed when a tornado wrecked her home, a spokeswoman for the Florida Division of Emergency Management said.

    A man died after his canoe capsized on Lake Dorr in the Ocala National Forest a few hours after Debby made landfall on Tuesday, and medical examiners were still investigating whether his death was related to the storm.

    On Wednesday, Pasco County Sheriff's waded into flood waters around the Anclote River to recover the body of a man in his 40s.

    "At this point it's really too early to tell what the cause of death was," sheriff's spokesman Doug Tobin said.

    Torrential rains caused the Anclote to rise from nine feet before the storm to major flood level of 27 feet on Tuesday. The flood waters had receded a little on Wednesday but still lapped dangerously over surrounding roadways and had a strong enough current to sweep people away, Tobin said.

    "Even though it's sunny out we're still urging people to use extreme caution in crossing roads that have water flowing over them. They are still extremely dangerous," he said.

    (Writing by Jane Sutton; Editing by Vicki Allen and Eric Walsh)

     
    • shishhhh  •  3 days ago
      Hmmmm. Well lets see here. People have decided to build structures on a land mass also known as a pennensula which juts out into the southern region of an ocean and are surprised that the Earth continues to do what it has done since its inception. Heating of the oceans and the process of convection of air masses is the Earths natural radiator. Unfortunately it doesn't come with a thermostat to regulate it within the comfort zone people would prefer. If you don't want to deal with the heat, storms, bugs etc, etc, then move to a more moderate climate out of the path of raging floods, hurricanes or blizzards and stop complaining about the government not coming quickly enough to the rescue every time there is an inevitable event.
    • What Now  •  8 days ago
      I am sorry to hear about the coastal flooding, damage and loss of life due to this storm but the rains we received here in central Florida's interior have been much needed. I am already seeing some drought stressed environments such as lakesides and fields starting to heal and recover. I hope Colorado and other drought stricken areas are given such a reprieve.
    • Owen  •  8 days ago
      I was coming home from work on Monday, stuck in traffic, look over and there is a gator sitting in traffic. I wonder if he has a long commute.
    • Stef  •  8 days ago
      The water that was flooding out the culverts is already getting absorbed by the water table. We'll need about two-three more storms like that to get out of drought, especially south Florida.
    • florence  •  9 days ago
      Time to clean the critters out of the pool .
    • Carlton  •  Clermont, Florida  •  9 days ago
      When it rains hard, we go to the attractions. We did Animal Kingdom in the pouring rain all day Sunday, no crowds, then Universal Islands of Adventure on Monday, no lines, and yesterday we did Blizzard Beach followed by EPCOT....no waiting. The tourists flee when it rains hard. Animal Kingdom was awesome in the tropical rain and mist. My feet are raw from so much wet walking, but it was worth it. We never go to Disney in Summertime unless it's raining cats and dogs. Looking forward to the weekend and the fresh, cold water:)
    • Carlton  •  Clermont, Florida  •  9 days ago
      It is ON this weekend!!! Waters are rising in the lakes and canals and the aquifer got a much needed booster shot of H2O. Who is going skiing? THIS GUY!!!!!
    • Robert  •  9 days ago
      The news of the fires have been on tv all night and people are losing there homes to fire here in Colorado. There in Florida people are getting flooded out of there homes. It's HOT here and no RAIN FOR WEEKS now. Please send the rain here.
      • R. Lee 9 days ago
        Yea, would have been nice if it evened out and sent some to help the wild fires. Extremes on both ends. And for those of you who say that we shoudl be use to this type of rain, that is not the case. When 15- 20 inches gets dropped in a few hours, it is more than the and and people can handle. Not to mention, there was very little warning as the track was suppose to go west, and we were just getting outer bands, then suddenly it stalls, and turns east and dumps rain for hours on end. Not light showers, but heavy downpours for hours. Crazy!
      • Aida 9 days ago
        if the people can't handle please all of us turn to God and ask for help.. if there is fire like Colorado they need to pray.ask God for the rain while our fire figher fighting for the fire should people pray too the residence before their house get hit. they have to pray..the prayer is very powerful.. believed me.
      • KY Blue Babe 6 days ago
        Look around you. The news reads like Bible prophecies which are coming to pass right before our eyes! Everyone needs to get their lives right with God and the only way to do that is to accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior and then live your life the way Jesus taught and showed us in the New Testament. Terrible weather patterns are happening in other countries, also. Britain is having flooding, too, and they are about to host the Olympics! Well, God can cancel the Olympics! He's about to cancel all the fire works shows in the Southeast. Can you believe the temp. in Nashville, TN was 109 degress F. today? And the entire state is in drought conditions! Is anyone ready to believe Al Gore now about global warming? My advice is that Jesus is coming back soon - are you ready?
    • John  •  9 days ago
      These storms have been happening for millenia. We biological forms have been around for a brief second of geologic time, but we get to write and fret about it.
      • Thomas 8 days ago
        Don't try to make sense from it Johnny Boy , just be like the Democrats . Kiss Obama and the First Moose's "Azzes and sit and watch the United States go under.
      • John 8 days ago
        politics? weather? name calling? go away troll
      • Curtis Bailey 8 days ago
        how is the weather in Tampa fla
    • D  •  9 days ago
      So what happens when Debby gets to the Atlantic? Will it restrengthen into a hurricane? If so , where will it go?
      • tomcat 9 days ago
        Frankly, its the wonderful sunshine and weather that leads to the tropical storms and hurricanes that plague the people that live there! But if you snowbird it really isnt a problem!
      • THETIMEISNOW 9 days ago
        -it will travel up your block and around your house, and exit through the trash barrel---
      • Adongo 9 days ago
        oh my God! too bad.for us in Uganda,we don't experience that.
    • DJ  •  Tampa, Florida  •  9 days ago
      I wish people that do not live here in Florida would know what they are talking about. We have been in drought for 2 years here in Florida. Can only water once a week if your lucky. We NEED all the rain and then some. The lake I live on is 5 feet below normal...you read it right 5 feet. There are sand bars where there have never been.

      I will take all this rain and please send us more!!!!
      • ARICH REPUBLICAN 9 days ago
        florida is surrounded by water...get the politians to use it
      • William 9 days ago
        Florida the people are nice that`s the wealthy ones. There are many cheap deals to where people sell anything all you need is money and you can find it because the money is tight and alot of Floridians who have lived there are use to heat and sweat, so between storms tornadoes and reptiles these people are adapted to the style of life and I might add they are beautiful people. But alot of people you have to watch and hope they are as honest as you and that they are their to do business and leave or help you out because they want to. But for the rest the crime is pratically as bad or worse than in most cities and States at least this is my opinion.
      • Grrrrr 9 days ago
        Sounds to me like Debby is heaven sent.
    • Shannon  •  9 days ago
      My friends were in Florida visiting family and called to tell us about the waist high water over the weekend. It was the trip from hell they said.
    • William  •  Belmont, New Hampshire  •  8 days ago
      Florida is due for more bad weather and more tornadoes ,Hurricain season is going to be toughlike homestead was hit and it is awful to have to rebuild and fight Fema for your loss. Lousiania is still cleaning up as Mississippi and boardering states which have gone through hell and even more so with BP clean up and the issues releated to oil still bedding down into the shore lines and bedded in areas to where it has caused havic to the fishing and seafood industries and all the shrimp boats are still working harder repairing nets and gear because of the releated issues. Florida has had many storms and disaster, so living there is a challenge for all people . I parked my Jaguar at a cheaper motel and during the night my jaguar emblem on the hood was taken and the damage caused to my hood was close to $500.00 dollars for repairing it. Thats when the Jaguars were first forming their football league, the hood emblems were symbols for Jaguars but they used them for handles on cains or walking sticks. If I caught them they would have had to have a walking stick for sure. Good nigh Florida I had fun with the people who were over worked with my comments.
    • Gritz  •  9 days ago
      Well.. people do go to Florida to swim.
      • THETIMEISNOW 9 days ago
        Yeh - look at all the groovy refugees that washed up on the beaches over the years---between the seaweed and the man-o-wars...!
      • Gritz 9 days ago
        Um. Sure, ok. We'll go with that.
      • Aida 9 days ago
        listen we have to pray we all need to pray. and ask the almighty God Jesus Christ and all saint to help us. to solve the problem example where ever the rain we have to pray stop the rain. and where ever the fire pray to God ask for the rain..that's all we need to do.. any dangerious path you all do not forget to pray..
    • MUNTZI  •  8 days ago
      It sure is a good thing they shut down the refineries in Houston
    • robert y  •  Smyrna, Georgia  •  9 days ago
      well that sucks
    • fixitright  •  9 days ago
      Its the RS curse!
    • Gritz  •  9 days ago
      Really, people live where they know there is danger. I survived Katrina (no, not in that sense that it hit and we had rain then it was gone; but in a sense that we were trapped in our house for over a month with no running water and little food; plus had thousands of dollars in damage on just our house alone) and after that, you begin to realize that, no, you may not be so smart living where you do.
    • Jake  •  9 days ago
      Can we please have some of that water in the midwest and western portions of our great dry nation?
    • BPatMan  •  8 days ago
      Debby? You mean Debby Wasserman-Schultz? Yep! She did a lot of damage to Florida.
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