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Cleaning up after Tropical Storm Debby's mess

11:32 AM, Jun 28, 2012   |    comments
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Video: Cleaning up after Debby's mess

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New Port Richey, Florida -- As the Anclote River recedes closer to its banks, the sound of chain saws fills the air in Anclote River Estates as people begin the process of picking up after Tropical Storm Debby's deluge.

The river swelled to more than 6 feet over its flood stage, hitting 26.48 feet on Tuesday morning. The flood stage is 20 feet.

According to data from the National Weather Service, this week's flooding is a record setter for the Anclote River. 1945 still holds the record when the river swelled to more than 7 feet over its flood stage.

The Red Cross estimates about 2,000 people evacuated their homes.

Chris Frost wasn't planning on leaving his Anclote River Estates home until the floods rose several feet in a matter of a couple of hours Tuesday morning.

"I've never seen it like this," he said, "just so quick, so devastating and so quick."

He added, "I knew when it was time to go, no doubt."

He returned to his property on Thursday morning to some good news.

"I don't think there's any damage to my house, but my rental house, there's a good 8 to 10 inches inside the house," he said.

Across the street, Ronald Fredricks sat on his front porch in his motorized wheelchair waiting for the water to recede. By Thursday afternoon, he could see parts of his yard again.

"They tried to get me out, but I said...the hell with it, I like my house and I'm going to stay here. If the home goes down, I'm going with it," he told 10 News.

He never got water inside his house, but he's struggling without power, unable to recharge his motorized wheelchair.

Janet McGuire with the American Red Cross says they have deployed five emergency response vehicles that will be going into the flood damaged areas to deliver hot meals and clean up kits.

1,000 hot meals were donated by the Bob Evans Restaurant in New Port Richey.

While Frost and Fredricks were spared, some of their neighbors were not so fortunate.

Some families lost everything.

Frost says his family has called the area home since 1979 and has no plans on leaving, despite what he and his neighbors have endured over the last few days.

"Home is where the heart is, it's where you've been, what you know, don't want to go and start over somewhere else. I'm staying here, no doubt," said Frost. 

Anclote River levels from the National Weather Service

(Flood Stage: 20 feet)

Thursday, June 28

5:15 a.m.: 22.86 feet

6:15 a.m.: 22.79 feet

7:15 a.m.: 22.71 feet

8:15 a.m.: 22.64 feet

9:15 a.m.: 22.55 feet

10:15 a.m.: 22.48 feet

11:15 a.m.: 22.41 feet

Tropical Storm Debby peak: 26.48 feet Tuesday morning

Record high:  27.70 feet in 1945 

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