Tropical Storm Debby reminds some of Fay

Debby brings back bad memories of severe flooding

By Erik von Ancken - Anchor/Reporter

SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. - The threat of a tropical system stalling out over Central Florida, possibly for days, is evoking memories of a similar situation just four years ago -- Tropical Storm Fay.

In August 2008, Fay lingered for days and dumped about 30 inches of rain in some areas, leaving hundreds of homes underwater, roads and highways washed out, and billions of dollars worth of damage, especially in Seminole and Volusia Counties.

Now, some people worry that slow moving Tropical Storm Debby, which on Monday was forecasted to move over Florida, could cause similar problems.

"This is not a Tropical Storm Fay. The one thing that would be similar is that it is a slow moving storm, but we're not seeing the rain showers that we saw during Fay," said Alan Harris, Seminole County Emergency Manager. "With Fay we were talking 16 to 18 inches of rain [in one day], inland flooding, as well as flooding along the St John's River. We're not going to see near that with this event. We've also been extremely dry. In fact, before this little bit of rain, we were in a burn ban because of the drought."

Harris pointed out that Fay hit towards the end of the summer, when lakes and rivers were already full and close to flood stage. Now, Harris said lakes and rivers have room to rise.

"Our inland lakes have 3 feet to go before 'action stage,' which is us taking some type of action. And this, Lake Monroe and St. John's River 3 to 5 feet, so plenty of room for water," said Harris. "This is no worse than an afternoon thunderstorm, maybe a little ponding [on the roadways] but that's about it."

Harris said he will not be activating Seminole County's Emergency Operations Center unless conditions change.

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