Debby floods neighborhoods in northern Florida

SOPCHOPPY, Fla. (AP) — Debby destroyed homes and businesses, washed away roads and flooded neighborhoods in Florida before the once-large tropical storm drifted out to sea Wednesday, leaving behind a sopping mess.

At least three people were killed in the storm. More than 100 homes and businesses were flooded and officials warned the waters may not recede until next week in some places. The storm knocked out power to hundreds of thousands of customers, though most had electricity restored by the time Debby left the state.

The tropical storm formed in the Gulf on Saturday and gradually made its way across the Florida, drenching the state for several days before it weakened to a depression. The windy, rainy weather ruined vacations for some.

In Live Oak, a small city in northern Florida, water was up to the roofs of some homes and cars were submerged. In other places, residents stood in several feet of water as they checked out the damage to their homes.

Even though Debby lost its strength, emergency management officials said they expect the aftermath to continue causing problems with swollen lakes and rivers, along with record rainfall.

“It’s not over. We’ve got a long way to go,” said Brian Koon, the director of the Florida Division of Emergency Management. “We’ll be dealing with flooding for the next week.”

Several of the state’s rivers in the north reached historic levels, Koon said. The Sopchoppy River reached its peak Wednesday at 36.1 feet. Before the storm, it was 8 feet.

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