With Tropical Storm Karen looking like it could be the second named storm to make landfall in the United States this season, Downtown Cafe employee Stephanie McIntosh was reminded Thursday of the devastation when Tropical Storm Debbie dumped more than a foot of water into her Live Oak Home.
“It was horrible,” she said. “I wanted to cry, but I didn’t have time to cry because we had to come up with a gameplan. It was like, ‘what are we gonna do?'”
McIntosh, along with many residents of Live Oak, own homes that are built downhill. In the aftermath of Debbie, those close to her worked together to help her recover. McIntosh says the experience gave her perspective.
“It took a little over two months, and I have a 17 year old son, and he helped, and the community helped, and my church family helped. That’s when you find out who your friends are,” she said.
Suwannee County Sheriff Tony Cameron, who is also the county’s emergency management coordinator, understands the difficulty Live Oak residents are faced with during a storm. He also knows how resilient and resourceful they can be, and he says that goes a long way for storm preparation.
“Local residents that live in low lying areas know when the water comes, and they know how fast the river rises, and if the river is going to cut them off, they’re pretty good about getting out. But I would advise them if the flood starts to come in, keep an eye on things here in the city. There are some areas that often get sandbagged and those kind of things.”