Tropical Storm Debby soaks Gilchrist County
By Carrie A. Mizell
Disorganized, but dangerous, is how Gilchrist County Emergency Management Director David Peaton described Tropical Storm Debby on Monday afternoon.
Though the center of the tropical storm was not expected to make landfall until 2 p.m. on Wednesday near Cedar Key, its impacts were widespread throughout the state. In Gilchrist County, trees were down throughout the county causing several power outages.
According to Peaton, the Suwannee River Kidney Center in Trenton lost power for several hours on Monday morning after a tree limb fell on an electrical line near the facility. Prior to that, an unoccupied vehicle was damaged when a tree fell on it Sunday evening in the City of Trenton.
At press time, Peaton said county officials were closely monitoring Debby.
A Ford truck was damaged on Sunday evening when a tree limb fell at the corner of
Second Avenue and Third Street in Trenton. No one was injured.
“Our major concern is rainfall and minor river flooding along the Santa Fe River, near the State Road 47 bridge at Fort White and in Three Rivers Estates,” Peaton said.
Residents living on the Gilchrist County side of the Santa Fe River received a CODE RED phone call issued by the county, warning of possible flooding due to heavy rainfall.
“The worst part of the rain hasn’t come yet,” Peaton said just before lunchtime on Tuesday.
Peaton explained that the county’s emergency shelter at Bell High School has been placed on standby should flood waters from the Santa Fe River force residents living along the river to evacuate their homes.
Florida Gateway College in Lake City closed on Tuesday due to flooding in and around the college.
The county’s Emergency Operations Center had reportedly received over 8 inches of rainfall by Tuesday at noon, with county officials bracing for up to 12 to 15” of total rainfall from Tropical Storm Debby.
Local residents are asked to call and report power outages to electric providers: Central Florida Electric Co-op at (352) 493-2512
Progress Energy at (800) 228-8485.