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Issac's Rains Pose Flood Threat For Panhandle

Tropical Storm Issac dumped several inches of rain on the Florida Keys and soaked Tampa, leading to the cancellation of several events for the Republican National Convention. But the storm has tracked farther away from the Florida panhandle and is now projected to make landfall near the Mississippi Gulf Coast and New Orleans.

Issac dumped several inches of rain on the Florida Keyes over the weekend and sent Republicans in Tampa scurrying under their umbrellas. But so far it’s done very little damage. It’s now in the Gulf but is expected to head Northwest, and away from areas like Destin and Panama City. Katie Moore is with the National Weather Service in Tallahassee and says rain and flood projections have been revised downward for the surrounding counties:

 “We’re now expecting only 2-4 inches of rain but we’re pretty high on rainfall this summer, we’re finally coming out of our drought. So we’ll be monitoring to see if flooding does occur. We’re going to keep an eye on that. And closer to the coast, storm surge is expected to be 3-5 feet south of us in Wakulla County.”   

Despite the storm’s westward trajectory, Governor Rick Scott says the Panhandle isn’t out of the woods just yet:

“The problem is, we already have that part of the state saturated. Tropical Storm Debbie saturated that part of the state and its still saturated. The western part of the panhandle could see over 24 hours of constant rain and tropical storm force winds. So we’re worried about flooding and we’re worried about tornados.”   

Meteorologists have already confirmed a tornado that touched down in Indian River County Monday and damaged several homes. No one was injured. People living in low-lying areas in coastal counties have been told to evacuate due to the chance they could see floodwaters of up to six feet wash ashore. 

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Lynn Hatter is a Florida A&M University graduate with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. Lynn has served as reporter/producer for WFSU since 2007 with education and health care issues as her key coverage areas.  She is an award-winning member of the Capital Press Corps and has participated in the NPR Kaiser Health News Reporting Partnership and NPR Education Initiative. 

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