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Storms rain welcome
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Tropical Storm Debby has inundated many parts of Florida with rain since Sunday, but local officials say its affect on our area is less than anticipated.

“What you look for in these long, lasting things is where it’s raining everywhere else and the rivers fill, and then you get down flow to the ocean and you get flooding all the way — well, we just haven’t had that,” Liberty County Emergency Management Agency Director Mike Hodges said Tuesday.

That relief comes primarily because the storm has stayed in or around Florida.

National Weather Service projections Tuesday afternoon showed the storm moving from the Gulf of Mexico east across north-central Florida and into the Atlantic, according Hodges.

The storm was moving east-northeast at 6 mph, and its maximum sustained winds had dropped from 50 mph to 40 mph.

The watch boxes, where severe weather is likely to occur, were all offshore.

“This one has just been the world’s craziest storm,” Hodges said. “Day one they say, ‘Well, we’ve got all ideas this thing’s going to Texas,’ and 48 hours later, it’s made a 180-degree turn where it’s going back out into the Atlantic — who saw that coming?”

The Georgia Forestry Commission also has been watching the storm, and Long/Liberty County Chief Ranger David Duke said he is glad to see the rain.

“For us, it is helping … It’s not going to bring us completely out of the drought, but it is definitely helping on the coast … We’re probably moderate drought right now,” Duke said.

He estimated Midway received between 1.25 and 1.33 inches of rain between Sunday and Tuesday.

“It was a good, slow-soaking rain, which is what we like … Most of it didn’t run off, and that’s what the ground needs and that’s what these ponds need,” he said.

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