Residents living along Florida’s Gulf Coast might be asking themselves what’s worse; a slow-moving tropical storm or a fast and furious hurricane. In light of tropical storm Debby and the devastating amount of rain Floridians are seeing, some might be wishing for a fast passing hurricane right about now.
Debby has been stalled in the Gulf of Mexico for the past several days and doesn’t appear to be in a hurry to move off to the northeast anytime soon. Reports have the storm moving between 3 and 5 mph, though not picking up intensity as it goes.
The slow movement of the storm means West and Central Florida has already seen more than a foot of rain since it began falling last weekend. They are expecting another 8 to 24 inches before the storm finally crosses the state and makes its way out to the Atlantic coast. Already some coastal roads have been washed out, low-lying houses have been flooded, and some of the small islands in the Gulf have been evacuated of tourists and other non-residents.
What to Expect
According to forecasters Florida residents shouldn’t expect a reprieve until at least Friday (29th) or Saturday (30th). In addition, it may take several days for floodwaters to receive from low-lying areas along the coast. In places where homes and businesses have been inundated it will be the normal process of draining the water, salvaging what personal property is worth saving, and then repairing or rebuilding property. It is going to be a long couple of months in Florida, that’s for sure.
Making matters worse over the last couple of days are the tornadoes that have been spawned across the state. Though not devastating to the same extent as those seen in Missouri last year, they are certainly adding to the misery of an already difficult situation. Residents are urged to exercise the utmost care to protect themselves and their families.
It goes without saying that disaster recovery companies will be very busy in the coming weeks and months. While some residents do their best to clean up and rebuild after the water recedes most will hire a contractor to do the work for them. That’s probably the best bet given the fact that even light flooding can cause structural damage to a house that might be missed by the untrained eye. A disaster recovery firm has the knowledge and expertise to make sure things get done correctly.
Those who do decide to do the work themselves need to be careful of a couple things. First of all, make sure you thoroughly inspect your property for the presence of mold. Keep an eye on things for the next couple of weeks, even after things have dried up. Second, thoroughly inspect the properties foundation for slab any signs of structural weakness. And third, keep in mind that moderate to severe flooding may require you to re-grade your property after all repairs are done.