Thursday, June 28, 2012

Debby's Soaking of Florida

With Tropical Storm Debby now a muddy, flooding memory for Floridians, the cleanup begins as flood waters slowly recede across the Sunshine State.

Rainfall total estimate from NOAA.

 Rainfall totals of over twenty inches were common across North Florida as the slow-moving and lopsided tropical system brought epic rains from Sunday through Tuesday to the Florida Panhandle and the west coast of the state.  The highest total, 28.78", fell in Curtis Mill, FL.   That rainfall total over three days is almost what we got in August and September of last year from two tropical systems and other bouts of thunderstorms over the course of those eight weeks.  Rainfall records for the month of June were set at Tampa (18.66"), with a two-day rainfall record set at Jacksonville (12.56").

Debby's rains, a classic case of too much too soon, has lead to historic flooding along the St. Mary's River (which runs through Jacksonville) and has turned much of North Florida into a quagmire.   Florida certainly needed rainfall -- just not this much this quickly.  Last Thursday's drought monitor showed much of Florida in either very dry or drought conditions.  That has changed with the latest report.  That said, a good chunk of the Southeast is still in a prolonged drought, with the worst of the worst continuing on in Georgia.

This video shows some of the flooding in the Tampa Bay area from Debby's rains. It isn't as powerful an image as some of the flood pictures reported elsewhere but still does an effective job of showing the impact of too much rain in a short amount of time in Florida.  Flooding will remain an issue across the Sunshine State for the next several days, with the focus shifting to larger rivers as the inches (and in some cases, feet) of rain drain through the watershed system.