It has been a very long week for people working at Pasco County's Emergency Operations Center. Nearly 100 sheriff's deputies, emergency management officers, firefighters and volunteers started working 24 hours a day last Saturday as Tropical Storm Debby approached.
Even though the storm is long gone, the entire group got a very early wake up call Friday when Governor Rick Scott paid them a visit. The Governor thanked those involved in managing the county during the storm, but he also got an update on damage.
"We know that we have a very preliminary estimate of about $4 million in public infrastructure damage," Emergency Management Director Annette Doying told the Governor.
Nearly 30 public buildings were impacted by the storm. More than 100 homes sustained water damage. Dozens of roads will need repair. It will all add up to a major impact on Florida.
"This also comes at a time where as you know our economy, we still have 800,000 people out of work. This doesn't help our economy a lot for these things to happen," the Governor said.
Thursday, Governor Scott was in Live Oak getting similar news.
"We're going to going around to some of the communities, and so, what I did, yesterday, I was in Suwannee County, and what we did there is you talk to people around where there was flooding," he said.
Two dozen teams are surveying nine counties for damage. The problem is a lot of those people haven't dried out yet, so it could be next week before there is an accurate damage assessment.
The Governor said he would decide next week whether to ask for federal recovery help.
"We're starting to do assessments today with the federal government to see what sort of programs the federal government will be involved in," Scott said.
The Friday meeting did have some good news: according to Pasco Sheriff Chris Nocco, people heeded an evacuation order issued Tuesday morning.
"When we asked people to leave, they left. They realized how important it was," Nocco said.
The session ended with a reminder from Florida Emergency Management Director Bryan Koon: "We still have five plus months of hurricane season."
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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