Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Not even a hurricane, Debby left trail of havoc

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?"

Times staff

Rainfall topped 15 inches in Brooksville.

With 15 inches of rain across Hernando County, the earth began to give way and sinkholes opened, particularly at County Line Road and the Suncoast Parkway

Numerous areas along the coastal Hernando and Pasco counties had heavy flooding that forced some residents out of their homes.

The U.S. post office in Elfers is without a roof. A suspected tornado blew it off on Sunday.

Homeowners in Thousand Oaks in Trinity used sledgehammers to punch holes in the wall around their community, trying to relieve waist-high water trapped inside.

Stretches of State Road 54 were closed for days.

By Wednesday, more than 7,000 homes and businesses in southwest Pasco County were evacuated.

Two dozen residents of Suncoast Gateway Mobile Village were evacuated Wednesday morning when floodwaters rose above electrical boxes.

A body was found Wednesday morning in a flooded street near the Anclote River.

A body was retrieved from the water in New Port Richey.

More than 15,000 Tampa Bay area residences were without power, some for several days.

Pinellas County's 35 miles of beaches were hit with heavy flooding and erosion.

A tornado damaged numerous businesses and residences in Pass-a-Grille.

With 10 inches of rain, lowlands such as Shore Acres in St. Petersburg and Bayshore Boulevard in Tampa were under water.

A female manatee was found dead along Bayshore Boulevard. A male and a calf wouldn't leave her side.

Hillsborough transit buses delayed or rerouted.

Rivers throughout all four counties rose to flooding or near-flooding, causing evacuations.

Tarpon Springs had about 15 inches of rain and sustained heavy flooding around its historic tourist district.

About 40 residents evacuated by boat Sunday from Sherwood Forest Travel Trailer Park.

Body retrieved from water in Largo.

Pinellas transit buses delayed or rerouted.

Several major bridges, including the Howard Frankland and Courtney Campbell, were closed at least temporarily.

Indian Rocks Beach man drowned Sunday in shallow floodwater near his home.

The Sunshine Skyway bridge was closed for three days, the longest stretch in its 25-year history.

Not even a hurricane, Debby left trail of havoc 06/29/12 [Last modified: Friday, June 29, 2012 8:09pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Data breach exposes 469 Social Security numbers

    Corporate

    Social Security numbers for up to 469 people were exposed in a data breach at Florida the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. The breach, which the agency believes happened about two weeks ago, occurred in an online payments system, spokesperson Jenn Meale said Monday.

    Commissioner of Agriculture Adam Putnam on Monday that nearly 500 people may have had their Social Security numbers obtained in a data breach in his office.
[Times file photo]

  2. Trigaux: Can Duke Energy Florida's new chief grow a business when customers use less power?

    Energy

    Let's hope Harry Sideris has a bit of Harry Houdini in him.

    Duke Energy Florida president Harry Sideris laid out his prioriities for the power company ranging from improved customer service to the use of more large-scale solar farms to provide electricity. And he acknowledged a critical challenge: People are using less electricity these days. [SCOTT KEELER   |   Times]
  3. Editorial: Preserve wild Florida before it's too late

    Editorials

    The last dairy farm in Hillsborough County has milked its final cow, the pastures sold to developers who will build 1,000 new homes. The remnants of the last commercial citrus grove in Pinellas County, where the Sunshine State's famed industry began in the 19th century, were sold last year to make room for 136 homes. …

    As dairy farms and citrus groves disappear, much more needs to be done to avoid paving over Florida’s wild spaces.
  4. Florida concealed weapons permit holders exposed in computer hack

    Blogs

    More than 16,000 concealed weapons permit holders in Florida may have had their names accidently made public because of a data breach at the The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.

  5. Editorial: Careless words unfit for a mayor

    Editorials

    Even his critics marvel at how well Bob Buckhorn has grown into the job since first being elected as Tampa's mayor in 2011. His grace in public and his knack for saying and doing the right things has reflected well on the city and bestowed civic pride in the mayor's office. That's why Buckhorn's cheap shot at the media …

    Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn fires a .50 caliber machine gun from a rigid hull inflatable boat during a Special Operations Capabilities Demonstration at the Tampa Convention Center last year. [JAMES BORCHUCK   |   Times]