Four dead. Seven tornadoes. Major roads and bridges closed. An entire beach business district torn up. Thousands of people evacuated from their homes. Tens of thousands of people without power for days. Sounds like a hurricane, right?
These were the remnants of Tropical Storm Debby, a middling tropical storm at best, with top winds of only 50 mph. And this is damage only in Hillsborough, Pasco, Pinellas and Hernando counties.
Debby proved a painful and at times deady reminder of the sheer power of even a minor tropical storm system.
For three days, the storm held an entire region hostage. Beyond loss of life and severe structural damage, Debby altered the lives of hundreds of thousands of people suddenly beset by flooded homes, closed roads and lack of power.
"Tropical Storm Debby has done more to erase our hurricane amnesia than all of the hurricane specials, hurricane expos, weather talks and newspaper sections combined," said Mike Clay, chief meteorologist with Bay News 9.
In Debby's aftermath, Clay was asking himself a question that was on the minds of thousands of Tampa Bay residents.
"What would a Category 1 do here?"