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The biggest damage from Tropical Storm Debby seems to be in sinkholes opening in Chiefland, Williston and the county with wind and high water damage in Cedar Key where Dock Street took a lashing.
Levy County Commission Chair Danny Stevens said the damage done on Sunday was continuing this week but was not as rough. "It's not as bad as it could be and that's about it," Stevens said. He said most folks were reporting downed limbs and only one tree of any size was down. But all the roads are open.
In Chiefland one sinkhole was reported near a home, but five sinkholes of varying sizes opened up in a retention pond between the Burger King and Taco Bell on U.S. Highway 19. One appeared to be about 20 feet long while another was about 8 feet in diameter.
On Wednesday, a crew was filling in the holes.
Another crew — this on from the Levy County Road Department — was working with a Chiefland crew on Southwest 14 Avenue by the city sewer plant to fill in sinkholes. The openings in the road had made it almost impassable. The county provided limerock and sand to repair the city road.
Chiefland Police Chief Robert Douglas told the City Commission Monday evening the city had a total of eight sinkholes.
In Cedar Key, docks used by the boats to take visitors out to the islands surrounding Cedar Key were destroyed by TS Debby.
In Williston, an 8-by-15-foot sinkhole opened near the local Mormon church on U.S. Highway 41 near State Road 121.
The city's floating dock alongside the boat launch ramp broke loose and damaged a water main running along Dock Street.
Jamie Griffin, whose owns the Seabreeze restaurant next to the city launch, bore the brunt of the floating dock's damage.
Griffin has spent the weekend moving furniture from the first to the second floor to keep it out of the water. And his restaurant is uninsured.
"You can't get insurance down here," he said of the restaurant that sits on pilings. "It's wood framed structure and it sits out in the Gulf of Mexico during hurricane season."
He and his staff have spent the weekend attempting to deal with the effects of TS Debby. "My goodness it's been just cleaning one mess after another."
But there have been heartwarming moments. "Everybody has been so cooperative and friends have come by and helped out," he said. "There was a young fellow about 13 to 15 years old and he saw us taking chairs upstairs and he was like you want me to help you take chairs upstairs and he did. I thought well there are still some good people in the world."
Griffin said his second floor is dry but he is waiting for landfall when an expected three-foot wall of water — the storm surge hits the business. He said he will open the doors of the restaurant to allow the water to flow through into the marina behind it.
"The reason that you open the door is so it will not bust the doors out with the surge," Griffin said. "That's not just waves. That's a wall of water going through at that time. There's no way the doors could hold it."
He said he expects to be open this weekend for the Fourth of July week visitors the holiday expects. He said some folks have already been asking if the lounge is open.
Levy County officials supplied sandbags for the residents of Yankeetown and sand to help with the flooding and also position cots at the Inglis Community Center in case residents needed a place to stay.
Levy County Emergency Management Director Mark Johnson activated the county's emergency operations center after Stevens signed an emergency declaration at noon in tandel with Gov. Rick Scott's declaration of emergency in counties affected by TS Debby.
On Tuesday morning Levy County Sheriff Johnny Smith ordered the closure of the Waccasassa, Suwannee and Withlacoochee rivers to all boating traffic. The following boat ramps will be closed: the ramp at the western end of State Road 40 in Yankeetown, Shell Mound, Fowlers Bluff, Clay Landing, Camp Azalea, Waccasassa boat ramp at County Road 326 and the No. 4 boat ramp in Cedar Key, all City maintained ramps in Cedar Key and Yankeetown. All citizens are urged to stay off the water until the ramps have been re-opened and the waterways deems safe for navigation.
Emergency Management Director Mark Johnson has also ordered the closure of the George T. Lewis airport in Cedar Key on Tuesday morning.