Tropical Storm Fay brings tornadoes, flooding to Florida

| 8/20/2008

Tropical Storm Fay has brought its share of destruction and flooding to Florida despite falling short of being classified as a hurricane.

A number of cities and counties reported flooding and road closures on Tuesday, Aug. 19, and the early part of Wednesday, Aug. 20, as the storm tracked to the north.

Travel in many areas in Southern Florida had resumed on Wednesday as flooding and bad weather moved northward. The National Weather Service issued flood and storm warnings and advisories in the path of the moving storm.

The Florida Department of Transportation called for toll suspensions to be lifted on all toll roads effective at 6 a.m., Wednesday. Toll suspensions had been in place during voluntary evacuations.

Gov. Charlie Crist’s emergency order remained in effect Wednesday, allowing trucks delivering aid to be exempt from restrictions on driving hours, size and weight.

Officials expected 6 to 12 inches of rain in east-central and northeastern Florida and 3 to 6 inches of rain in southeastern Georgia. Isolated areas could receive 20 inches of accumulated rainfall before the storm departs, officials stated in an advisory posted at 11 a.m. Wednesday.

Officials in one county, St. Lucie on the East Coast, reported that 20 percent to 30 percent of area roadways were impassable and that a number of homes were damaged.

A tornado touched down Tuesday morning in nearby Stuart, FL, causing a delivery truck to be tipped onto its side and causing the driver to be trapped until a motorist could rescue him, local media reported.

The driver of the box truck, Daniel Donalds, 24, of Belle Glade, FL, spotted the approaching tornado and stopped the truck according to a report on High winds tipped the truck on its side where it narrowly missed a power pole that had caught fire.

Donalds was quoted as saying he is lucky to have stopped when he did or he would have been tossed against the burning power pole.

Officials stated that more tornadoes were possible.

– By David Tanner, staff writer