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Debby downgraded to tropical depression
Major flooding is expected to continue throughout Florida, with some areas potentially seeing accumulations of up to 25 inches. (Source: Bay News 9/CNN)
(RNN) –The National Weather Service downgraded Debby to a tropical depression in its 8 p.m. ET advisory Tuesday, with coastal and inland flooding remaining the chief threat to the coast.
High tides and the storm surge will most likely flood costal areas that are already dealing with rainfall totals that range from 10 inches to more than 2 feet.
The slow-moving storm was moving east-northeast at just 10 mph, packing winds of about 35 mph at 5 a.m. ET Wednesday. The storm is expected to move into the Atlantic Ocean during the day.
Debby dumped massive amounts of rain on parts of the Florida panhandle Tuesday, closing Interstate 10 near Lake City, FL.
The Florida Department of Transportation's 511 Website said that about 25 miles of Interstate 10 between Lake City and Sanderson was closed due to flooding on Tuesday. That stretch of highway, which runs through the Osceola National Forest, remains closed, and that area has received more than 20 inches of rain.
A mandatory evacuation order was issued Tuesday by authorities in Pasco County for 2,000 homes near the Cotee, Anclote and Pithlachascotee rivers because of flooding.
Debby may produce 4 to 8 inches of rain over northern Florida during the next few days, with an additional 1 to 3 inches of rain over southeastern Georgia. However, a total of 25 inches of rain is possible in some areas of northern Florida.
Coastal watches and warnings have been lifted. The storm was located 25 miles southeast of St. Augustine, FL, by 5 a.m. ET.
An isolated tornado threat continues on Wednesday.
Florida Gov. Rick Scott declared a statewide emergency in response to the storm.
"We're bringing in all emergency support personnel to coordinate activities, so we can have the right response," Scott said in a news conference from Tallahassee, FL on Monday.
Over the weekend, high winds, tornadoes and waterspouts were reported across Florida. A tornado killed one person near Sarasota, FL. But flooding seems to be what will cause the most damage.
Roads in cities along the Gulf of Mexico were closed due to high water. In Pasco County, FL, some residents from a mobile home park needed to be rescued due to flooding.
Some areas may experience flooding from the high tide which will be affected by the storm surge. A flash flood warning is effect for most of the Florida Panhandle, according to the Florida Division of Emergency Management.
The agency also warns people to stay out of the water due to dangerous rip currents.
Debby's strongest winds and much of the heaviest rainfall was on the east side of the storm, well removed from the center of circulation.
Copyright 2012 Raycom News Network. All rights reserved.
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