TS Debby causes accidents, power outages

Tornado watches reported across Central Fla.


ORLANDO, Fla. – Tropical Storm Debby brought lots of rain to Central Florida, causing numerous accidents and leaving hundreds without power.

Slick roads caused several accidents around Central Florida. Overnight Sunday, a tractor-trailer jackknifed and crashed into a median on the I-4 Fairbanks curve.

State Road 528 was also shut down overnight after witnesses said an ambulance carrying a child was involved in a crash. Witnesses said a car crashed into a guard rail and was hit by the ambulance. The three people in the car were hurt but no one in the ambulance was hurt.

Florida Highway Patrol Sgt. Kim Montes said drivers should slow down, and use caution on the roads, especially in areas with high winds.

Meanwhile, the storms have also affected Central Florida homes. In Orange County, James McCord and his crew spent much of the day removing a oak tree that crashed into a house on Shore Drive.

"These are the strongest trees that are out there, of the oaks any way, and it snapped the, off like match sticks," said McCord.

"It was just all of a sudden, a lot of crash, bang," said Mike Fuller, the homeowner.

Fuller said at about 9 p.m. Sunday, a storm kicked up a few notches, and he heard the tree in his backyard come crashing down.

"I just happened to look out on the porch with a flash light and there were tree limbs in here and the tables were all smashed," he said.

Robin Ulery's Lake County home also was damaged. She said a two minute blast of whipping winds tore her yard apart, uprooted 10-year-old trees, broke chairs and lifted the trampoline from the side of her house and tossed it in the backyard.

"I was watching TV and I heard something strange," she told Local 6. "It was whirling something I never heard in my life. I grabbed my family went into the bath tub and it came then it was gone."

Ulery and her neighbors also lost power because of a downed power line, like many Central Florida residents.

Power outages, as reported by Progress Energy, affected 601 customers in Orange County, 1,206 in Volusia County, 21 in Lake County, 2 in Osceola County and 492 in Seminole County at 4 p.m. on Monday.

Meanwhile, in  Marion County, the sheriff's office will give sandbags away to prevent flooding. Flood watches were in effect Monday morning in Sumter, Marion and Lake counties.

The Office of the Marion County Engineer also reports a temporary bridge has been erected after the Sharpes Ferry Bridge was damaged in the inclement weather. Portions of County Road 314 leading to the bridge, between the State Road 40 and State Road 35 intersections, will also remain temporarily closed. Only local access to the temporarily closed portions of County Road 314 will be maintained.

Troopers are urging drivers to be careful on slick roadways and avoid driving at a high rate of speed.

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