- Live Oak, Fl. - June 28, 2012 -
If you take a walk through downtown Live Oak you will see the streets are bone dry. You would never know they were drowning in waist deep water on Tuesday.
Streets like Ohio Avenue are still covered with slowly receding water, but it leaves a path of filth in its wake.
Over on Highway 129 South "Melody Christian Center" looks more like an island. It is completely flooded in more than a foot of water.
Desks and chairs drift a float in flooded classrooms. Some say they have spotted snakes swimming through the dark hallways.
"And just to see it all happen so fast. All this is really kind of shocking," said Murphy Chancey who attends Melody Church.
Now they are looking for any help they can get from authorities and the community. Melody church is just one example of the lingering problem in Live Oak: stagnant water.
Countless residential streets are still flooded and numerous cars are still submerged. There are concerns of sewage in the streets because the main pumping station flooded.
The "First Responders Team Of America" came all the way from Pennsylvania with high power pumps to suck it up. They are a non-profit response team that dispatches to major disasters all across America including the recent storm damage in Joplin, Missouri and Tuscaloosa, Alabama.
"So we're using our water pump to empty out the water that's surrounding the sewage plant so that the sewage plant can then be started again and sewage can begin to be pumped," said Tad Agoglia, founder of the First Response Team Of America.
On Tuesday and Wednesday they conducted rescue missions with a hover craft.
The flooding has aggravated another problem: sink holes. One opened up downtown by the courthouse. Governor Scott came to see for himself as a part of his tour.
"What's happening now is FEMA, the state and locals come in. They do an assessment and we just help people get back to work," said Governor Rick Scott.
The Live Oak courthouse is closed because of the sinkhole and it will not be open again until next week.
Live Oak, FL - June 27, 2012 -
The flood water slowly drifts away in Live Oak after Tuesday's torrential downpour from former Tropical Storm Debby. Now authorities want residents to be on alert for lingering dangers.
On a normal day, Kayaks and Canoes are a way of life in Live Oak. But after Debby that is the only way Rashard and Larod Fleming can check on their Grand Father's house.
"We haven't been on the inside yet but from looking from the outside it looks like the water is already on the inside but hopefully there's not any damage," said Rashard Fleming.
Torrents of rain pummeled Live Oak Tuesday sinking hundreds of homes and businesses in waist deep water. Downtown looked like a lake as U.S. 90 was covered in waist deep water. Business owners had to wade through the water to get to their stores.
"I've never seen so much water since I've been living in Suwannee County," said Lee Peters, Live Oak Resident.
The streets smell like a sewer. The flooding reached the main pumping station prompting concerns sewage could pour onto streets and into homes. Now authorities are warning everybody to stay out of the flood water due to possible bacteria and other threats like snakes.
Jason and Summer Worth aren't worried about pollution or bacteria. The offices of their family's construction company flooded because of nearby ponds overflowing. They wade through the water with their whole family in tow.
Authorities urge anyone with a private well to boil their water before drinking it. And they ask drivers not to travel flooded roads.
"Because when they drive through them they damage the roads. They cause ripple effects that go into people's homes and damage their homes even more," said Tony Cameron, Suwannee County Sheriff and Director of Suwannee County Emergency Services.
And Flood water can hide unseen sink holes or damaged bridges.
It may still be weeks before the water recedes.
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Roughly 80% of Live Oak was underwater during the height of the rain Tuesday.
Countless people were displaced from their homes. As of Wednesday afternoon 124 people are now in the shelter.
Nearby hotels are completely full with storm victims. Many local restaurants, including Dominoes, have been giving out free pizzas to storm victims.
The Florida National Guard is helping out in the storm relief effort. At least 25 streets are closed. And 32 sinkholes have been reported as of Wednesday afternoon.
Many local residents can believe what they're seeing.
"I grew up here. I was born in Live Oak. I've never seen anything like this. I've heard that back in the 60s their was Dora but like I said I've never experienced anything like this. This is crazy," said Lisa Gill, Live Oak resident.