PORT RICHEY, Fla. - Officials with the Red Cross are hoping the effects of Tropical Storm Debby will be a wakeup call to Bay Area residents, to make sure they have an emergency plan in place.
They estimate only about 7 percent of the population had a plan and said from what they saw after the storm, many people were caught off guard.
"They really weren't prepared to keep as close an eye as they needed to on the rain levels and what was happening," said Linda Carbone with the Red Cross. "Didn't have a stock of water, weren't really prepared from an emergency standpoint to be cut off for a few days."
Ed Smith lives in the Jasmine Lakes community off U.S. 19 in Port Richey. He said heavy rain soaked the streets and overflowed the bayou behind his house along Oleander Drive. It left his neighborhood underwater. Smith and his family had to evacuate. He had no belongings with him and no emergency plan in place. He said, though, that won't happen again.
"It's a wake-up call. 'Cause nobody in our whole area expected this to happen, because it never happened before," said Smith.
Officials are encouraging residents to take action now just in case we feel the effects of any more storms this season.
You can go to the redcross.org for information on developing a plan and preparing emergency kits.