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Storm soaks Gulf Coast

BY SUSAN KIM | Panama City Beach, FL | September 22, 2000

Five inches of rain had fallen in many areas and rain was still falling on Friday afternoon. Port St. Joe

received nearly five inches of rain by 8 a.m. Friday, according to Gulf County Division of Emergency

Management reports.

The storm -- which had winds of 65 mph -- weakened during the night. A tornado was sighted in the town

of Woodville, FL, west of Tallahassee, said Kim Shively, spokesperson for the Florida Division of

Emergency Management. "We haven't been able to get out and assess damages yet," she said.

"We're giving the weather a chance to blow over," agreed Ora Hall, spokesperson for Leon County

emergency management.

Flash flood warnings were posted for Leon County and for many other counties in the panhandle area as


The storm will move through southeastern Alabama and southwestern Georgia on Friday, forecasters

reported. Areas already soaked by last weekend's Tropical Storm Gordon are especially vulnerable to

flooding, with South Georgia at high risk for severe flooding. The Carolinas will likely escape the brunt of

the storm, forecasters predicted.

As Panama City Beach, FL resident Betty Dover said, "You just have to wait these things out" - and

volunteer and faith-based groups are doing just that.

Members of the Florida Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster VOAD are standing by, said Dr. Ron

Patterson, field director of Christian Disaster Response. "Flooding is likely in Mexico Beach," he added.

Groups are staging equipment and supplies to make an immediate response if needed, agreed Bill Rhan,

disaster response coordinator for United Methodist Conference of Florida.

"There is a potential for flooding in the panhandle. But that's a given every time it rains," he said.

Rhan added that the rain has proven to be a blessing for some areas, since parts of Florida have a 21-inch

rain deficit this year.

Residents seem to be taking the storm in stride as well. "So far, so good," said Panama City Beach resident

Sue Burgans. "There has been lots of wind but I think we're going to be okay."

Meanwhile, Tropical Storm Isaac is in the east Atlantic with maximum sustained winds of 50 mph but as of

Friday afternoon posed no threat to land.

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