Brisk winds and occasional thunderstorms are the only effects likely to be felt in the Florida Keys today, as Tropical Storm Debby slowly moves toward an expected Florida panhandle landfall.
But over the weekend Debby and the storm system that birthed it dumped heavy rain on the Keys, creating localized flooding.
The storms, coupled with unusually high tides, eroded some beach areas and left seaweed on sidewalks.
Some street closures were ordered Monday as well because of hazards from high water, including the area surrounding the landmark Southernmost Point marker.
"Extra high tides coupled with high tropical winds have made the popular tourist point difficult to drive past," said city spokeswoman Alyson Crean, predicting that the area should be open again early this morning.
South Street from Duval to Whitehead streets, and Whitehead down to United Street, were closed to traffic Monday afternoon. Pedestrians were allowed to traverse the area, however.
Some moored boats near Wisteria Island dragged anchor during squalls with heavy winds Sunday, causing some bumping of vessels. The weather also resulted in canceled or postponed cruise ship arrivals. A power outage Sunday night affecting about 1,200 Key West households for about 90 minutes was not weather-related, said a spokesman for Keys Energy Services.
"We have had squalls move through producing wind gusts about 50 mph late Saturday and Sunday, and we are expecting that trend to continue," said National Weather Service meteorologist Bill South.
On Monday afternoon, he said there was some good news associated with Debby, that the storm is weakening. The system has been sucking the heat from waters near the panhandle and the Florida Gulf Coast for energy, and might soon run out of steam.
"We forecast landfall Wednesday night or Thursday morning near the northwest coast of Florida," South said. "It should remain cloudy and windy here, probably through at least Wednesday."
What thunderstorms may erupt should be fast-moving, and are not expected to create the same problems as did Friday night's heavy rains.
Key West port officials said the Carnival cruise ship Ecstasy canceled its planned Sunday berthing, but that an attempt would be made to bring the ship in this morning.
The Carnival Freedom also canceled a planned visit Monday. Also in Key West waters, a tug and a freighter were facing some issues due to weather, but were not in any apparent distress.
A small craft advisory, South said, will remain in effect at least until Wednesday for local waters.