Debby Weakens As Storm Crosses Florida
Now a tropical depression, Debby lost steam after making landfall Tuesday, but not before the storm caused more flooding across the Tampa Bay area.
Storm surge remains the biggest threat to the Tampa Bay area after Tropical Storm Debby made landfall Tuesday.
Forecasters cautioned that water levels at high tide could rise up to 3 feet above ground, according to the National Hurricane Center. Even though the worst of Debby's rains have left the Bay area, water levels were expected to remain elevated for "the next day or two," the National Hurricane Center said.
“With rain bands passing, these waters are probably not going to start retreating until the early hours of Wednesday,” said Anthony Reynes, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service’s Ruskin office.
Debby was downgraded to a tropical depression Tuesday night.
Flooding Forces Evacuation in Pasco
Parts of western Pasco County were evacuated Tuesday as the Anclote and Pithlachascotee rivers flooded, and many of Pasco County's summer programs were canceled for Wednesday.
“Rains from Tropical Storm Debby have caused flooding above the 100-year flood level," county spokesman Eric Keaton wrote in a media release.
Agencies including the American Red Cross have been pitching in to support the affected communities.
Locally, wind gusts are expected to die down Wednesday. Debby is picking up speed but weakening as the storm cuts a path northeast across the Florida Peninsula, although it could gain strength once it reaches the Atlantic Ocean, which forecasters say could happen as early as Wednesday evening.
Here's a look at the New Tampa forecast for the rest of the week, from the National Weather Service:
- Wednesday: Rainy and hot. There's a 60% chance of rain, with a high of 88. Winds will die down to 11-14 mph.
- Thursday: Partly sunny, with a 30% chance of rain. High of 91. Winds will calm to less than 10 mph.
- Friday: Mostly sunny, with a 30% chance of rain. High near 91.
- Weekend: Highs in the low 90s, with a 20% chance of rain.
Patch will continue to provide local storm photos and the latest storm updates throughout hurricane season.