NE Fla. counties deal with storm effects

By Jim Piggott - Reporter , Scott Johnson - Reporter

COLUMBIA COUNTY, Fla. - Ken McGee is watching Andrea closely. He lives in the Calloway neighborhood in Lake City, which was underwater last year during Tropical Storm Debbie. His house wasn't damaged, but many of his neighbors' homes were, and they have since moved.

"Obviously, it's June and we got our first storm, and nothing's changed," McGee said. "They did not come out and dig no holes. They done nothing. Being a citizen out here, we are worried about it."

It was a lessened leaned, and the neighborhood is hoping some changes will be made.

"They came out a couple weeks ago and put some steaks up there," McGee said. "Thought they were going to start digging some drainage or ditch ways; have not seen nothing."

The Columbia County Emergency Operations Center says it is tracking the storm, but right now it's not anticipating problems.

Laurie Schmidt is not so sure. She has this message for Andrea: "Go fast. Go really fast," she said.

That's why she canceled rehearsal at her dance studio Thursday. She had problems last year when water seeped inside. She was preparing sandbags just in case.

"Well, it's the unknown," Schmidt said. "Last year we had the tropical storm that came through and we got 20 inches, and we are hoping we don't get that much. I think everybody is preparing for that just in case."


In St. Augustine, the tourist buses kept running with poncho-clad out-of-towners driving down waterlogged streets where some of the businesses like a bike rental shop closed up to ride out Andrea's showers.

St. Johns County had dump trucks positioned everywhere from hastings to Ponte Vedra Beach with dirt and sandbags for anyone who wanted to protect against flooding.

"Downtown always floods. With the rain we got yesterday and today and tomorrow, yeah," resident A.J. Weatherington.

Some residents had the same idea when it comes to the flooding.

"Kayaks need to be brought out if you want to get anywhere, I think," resident Brianna Bradford said.

"I have a little car, so driving through those big puddles isn't fun," resident Mary Zuccala said. "More need like canoes and kayaks around here sometimes."

Tourists like Bryan and Ashley Donaugh, who recently arrived from Indiana, hope storm clouds give way to sunshine and their vacation isn't a total washout.

"Usually expecting sunshine and beaches," Bryan said.

Copyright 2013 by All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.