ST. MARKS, Fla. — People along Florida’s Gulf Coast remember the destruction of Hurricane Dennis in 2005 and Tropical Storm Debby in 2012.
They remembered the coastal storm surge and drenching rains as they prepared for Tropical Storm Hermine. Weather officials predict it will make landfall somewhere in the state’s Big Bend area late Thursday night.
Greg Liskey, his son James and their friends were in St. Marks snapping down a canvas covering, checking batteries and bilge pumps and tightly securing mooring lines on their boat Hard Times.
Liskey is taking precautions should Hermine hit during a high tide along the St. Marks River where he is docked.
“That’s what you do to get ready and then hope it’s not as bad as they say,” Liskey said. “You see storms that are tropical then go to Category 1, to Category 2, to Category 3 and it doesn't take them long to get there.
“You don’t want to go crazy with worry, but certainly, you’re worried.”
Dennis in 2005 washed out portions of Coastal Highway 98 in Franklin County. Debby almost a decade later left areas of Wakulla County under water for weeks after a deluge of more than 20 inches of rain.
Forecasters are predicting surges between 3 and 5 feet along the coastline and as much as 10 inches of rain.
Randy Souders stopped along Coastal Highway 98 as the high tide rose over docks in Lanark.
The Carrabelle resident gathered supplies Tuesday and is planning to ride out the storm with his children while his wife works with emergency officials at the Wakulla County Sheriff's Office.
Souders lives three blocks from the waterline.
"All we can do is sit and watch and wait," Souders said. "Hope for the best and prepare for the worst.”
Carson Ulrich has owned Lanark Mark since 2011. He has seen photos of how high water came into the small store during Dennis.
It rose to three-and-a-half cinder blocks inside the store, which sits along the same stretch Dennis trashed.
He said Wednesday, as news of the impending storm spread, that people flocked to fill up gas cans and vehicles. He remains optimistic and is not particularly worried about Hermine’s winds.
“That’s the only thing that worries me is the water, not the 50 mph winds,” Ulrich said. “It’s the water that's going to get us. I’ve seen what it could do in 2005.”
In Shell Point, people were hurriedly pulling boats out of the canals that dissect the small coastal community.
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