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Tropical Storm Debby causes historic flooding in Wakulla County, Florida

5:26 PM, Jun 26, 2012   |    comments
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Sopchoppy, Florida - Tropical Storm Debby dumps more than 25 inches of rain in parts of Wakulla County, southwest of Tallahassee, and causes historic flooding.

Residents of Sopchoppy say they have never seen flooding like this. The Sopchoppy River surged out of its banks and left homes several feet under water.

The National Weather Service reports 26 inches of rain fell in one area of Wakulla County. The Sopchoppy River rose above the Weather Service's water gauge and broke it, but the water was expected to rise several feet above major flood stage.

The flooding knocked out power, closed roads and forced evacuations in Wakulla county. Water rushed over Sopchoppy Highway and cut off access to the town of 500 people from the east.

Lisa Russell's family scrambled to remove valuables from their flooded home on the Sopchoppy River. They loaded up a boat and ferried keepsake pictures, clothes and other items to safety.

Russell says the home was built on 15-foot stilts and was not supposed to flood. But now it's filled with several feet of water.

"My dad built the house and our family's lived here for generations, but this has never happened. I'm sort of in shock right now. I haven't seen it yet so I'll probably get upset when I see it."

Russell says there was no sign of any water under the house Monday morning. But it steadily rose as the hours passed and by 3 p.m., she told her husband she was scared.

"We were going to stay and the water was rising so fast that I got scared and said, 'Get the dog and get in the truck.' So he got a suitcase with some clothes and the dog and our computers and we got out and then it just kept on rising from there."

Sopchoppy resident William Dunlap met his parents in town to make sure they were doing OK and to load up on supplies. He was concerned the river would close the bridge and cut off his access to town.

Dunlap has been in town for nearly 50 years and he's amazed by the flooding.

"It's bad. Real bad. I ain't never seen the river up that high."

Electric crews from Chattanooga, Tennessee traveled seven hours to help restore power in Wakulla County.

Crawfordville resident Jim Snyder waited patiently for his power to be restored. Snyder said it was nerve wracking to live here over the past couple of days.

"You don't know exactly what's coming. You hear about tornado warnings and tornadoes here and there and you put your head outside and you can't see nothing. It's just nothing but wind and rain. It just pelted this place heavy."

More Tropical Storm Debby Coverage:

Dave Heller

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