Thursday, April 19, 2018
Tampa Bay Weather

Slow-moving Tropical Storm Debby will continue to cause problems for several days

Debby's not done yet.

After a weekend of tornadoes, thigh-deep water, high tide surges, power outages and more, experts say Tampa Bay residents can expect more of the same over the next few days.

Hovering about 90 miles southwest of Apalachicola, Debby was barely moving over the Gulf of Mexico early Monday, according to the National Hurricane Center.

Due to weak upper air currents, "little movement is expected over the next couple of days," said a 4 a.m. NHC advisory.

That's bad news for people already stranded in their neighborhoods.

Davis Islands in Tampa were effectively cut off as the bridge was closed due to flooding. The Sunshine Skyway Bridge also remained closed Monday.

More than 10 inches of rain drenched New Port Richey in little more than an hour after midnight Monday. Parts of Holiday were reportedly underwater.

Pinellas County officials reported up to 3 feet of water flooding roadways throughout the county.

"People are going to hate Debby in a couple of days," said Bay News 9 meteorologist Brian McClure. "They're going to really hate this tropical storm."

The storm, disorganized and unpredictable in its path, boggled forecasters, who could only guess at its next move.

While once predicting it could head as far west as Texas, many forecasters now say it could make landfall in northwest Florida.

Tropical storm and coastal flood warnings remained in effect for Levy, Citrus, Hernando, Pasco, Pinellas, Hillsborough, Manatee and Sarasota counties. Wind speeds had decreased Monday morning to about 50 mph, though Debby could strengthen again, forecasters warned.

"Debby weakened overnight, and it doesn't even matter," McClure said. "This is not your typical tropical storm situation."

A tornado watch remained in effect until 2 p.m. for much of west central Florida.

Dangers of flooding rose with the tides Monday, with high tide expected around 7 a.m.

Motorists should avoid high, standing water, as vehicles could stall out and some run the risk of being swept away, law enforcement officials warned.

Schools and summer camp programs were cancelled due to the storm Monday.

In Pinellas County, staff was expected to report to summer sites, though classes were cancelled, said spokeswoman Melanie Marquez.

Stay with tampabay.com for updates.

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