Tell Us Your Debby Story
Sub-tropical storm Beryl was just a taste compared to what is happening outside right now. Tropical Storm Debby has brought torrential rain, flooding, power outages and tornado warnings to the New Tampa and Wesley Chapel areas for the better part of the past week.
After finishing the latest Wesley Chapel issue on June 21, which is set to hit mailboxes on June 30, I was excited to head south to Marco Island for the weekend, where the Marriot Beach Resort awaited. My father was attending a job-related conference at the resort, so it just made sense to spend the weekend at the beach bar.
Enter Tropical Storm Debby. I had hoped to spend the weekend soaking up some rays, but instead ended up just getting soaked. However, despite the relentless rain and wind that made laying out on the beach an impossibility, Debby presented other unique opportunities, like being a “tornado chaser”—my childhood dream, even before the movie “Twister” made its way into theaters.
Back to the bar. So, I’m enjoying a nice Florida Avenue India Pale Ale (which is brewed right down the street from my house in central Tampa), talking to my family, when I decide to turn around on my stool and take a look at the beach. I end up doing a double take after I notice the large funnel cloud tearing up the water offshore. Unable to control my excitement, I took it upon myself to grab my camera phone and alert everyone else at the bar, no doubt contributing to a “storm” (see what I did there?) of pictures of the swirling waterspout being uploaded to Facebook, Instagram and every other social media site.
And the fun didn’t stop there. The next morning, I groggily awoke, squinting through the haze of an early-morning hangover to find out that a tornado had, in fact, touched down on the outskirts of Marco and snapped some power lines, cutting off electricity to the entire island. The shops in the lobby were left to operate by glow sticks, as the limited generator power was only used to light the hallways and operate the elevators. Luckily for us, we were scheduled to check out before noon.
While my family only had to travel a short 45-minute drive back to Cape Coral, I had the good fortune of having to drive another hour-and-a-half back to Tampa for a Monday morning editorial meeting. As most meteorologists have agreed, the feeder bands of Debby have been moving up the west coast of Florida, right along I- 75 corridor, the exact route I had to drive to get back to town. But, here I am, sitting at my desk in the New Tampa Neighborhood News office off Amberly Dr. in Tampa Palms, so despite a wet weekend and a miserable drive, I guess everything turned out okay.