Wednesday, April 25, 2018
Politics

Irma's new threat: Rising flood water in North, Central Florida

TALLAHASSEE — Heavy rainfall over North and Central Florida from Hurricane Irma has swelled 23 rivers and creeks to beyond flood stage Wednesday, threatening homes along their banks and potentially forcing a massive re-routing of drivers along I-75, state officials warned.

According to water level sensors maintained by the U.S. Geological Survey, the biggest threat appeared to be the Santa Fe River, which stretches 75 miles through the heart of the state in northern Florida. The river was recorded at 56,39 feet on Wednesday, according to the USGS gauging station, and is 13 feet above flood stage estimates of the National Weather Service.

What's worse: the water is still rising and is expected to continue through the weekend, as water levels from upstream move southward down the river, the agencies said.

The USGS is working with the Florida Department of Transportation to monitor the safety of a small bridge on I-75 at mile marker 408 crossing the Santa Fe River on the northern border of Alachua County.

FDOT said in a statement that the interstate, clogged with evacuees from the storm trying to return home to South Florida, is still passable. But, they warned, the river levels could rise and force them to close the bridge and re-route traffic, creating even more headaches for the road weary.

Because the USGS monitoring station of the Santa Fe River at O'Leno State Park is inaccessible due to the flooding, FDOT and the Florida Highway Patrol controlled traffic Wednesday morning to allow USGS engineers Mark Stephens and Joshua Sundberg to measure the river levels from the shoulder of the highway, said Mark R. Dickman, one of the agency's hydrologic data section chiefs in its Davie office.

"We were informed that if the water level reached 58 feet they would have to shut down this stretch of the interstate and reroute traffic," he said.

The measurements will be used to help the NOAA Southeast River Forecast office to help emergency managers forecast the river's peak and help with decisions concerning road closures in the area.

According to the USGS real-time water monitors, situated in dozens of waterways across the state, six other rivers that were already at flood stage in Florida continued to rise Wednesday, and 17 others that are at flood stage had leveled or dropped in the last day.

Rising water

Santa Re River is at 56.39 feet, above the flood stage of 43 feet, and is projected to continue rising.

Ocklawaha River at Eureka is three feet above flood stage and still rising.

The Peace River is swelling in several places. At the USGS monitor in Bartow, it was more than a foot above flood stage and was rising Wednesday. In Arcadia, the river measured seven feet above flood stage and had risen since Tuesday, but, between those monitoring points, the river was five feet above flood stage at Zolfo Springs. It had dropped slightly since Tuesday.

Cypress Creek at Worthington Gardens is nearly three feet above flood stage and continues to rise.

The Withlacoochee River at Croom, east of Tampa, continues to rise and is at flood stage of nine feet. Further south at Trilby, the river is two feet above flood stage and rising.

The St. John's River at Astor, south of St. Augustine, is two feet above flood stage and is rising. At DeLand, northeast of Orlando, the river is less than a foot above flood stage but continues to rise. In Cocoa, the St. John's is at flood stage and continues to rise.

The Little Wekiva River near Altamonte Springs is slightly below the 30-foot flood stage and on Wednesday appeared to level.

There is good news, however, in other parts of the state.

Receding water

The Hillsborough River at Morris near Thonotosassa is nearly two feet above flood stage and continues to rise. Further north near Zephyrhills, however, the river was recorded at 3.7 feet above flood stage early Wednesday but has dropped since Tuesday.

The Manatee River continues to drop. At the monitor point near Sarasota it was at 2.8 feet above flood stage and at the Myakka Head monitor, it remained at flood stage of 11 feet but dropped dramatically from the 18 feet it reached Monday.

The Alafia River at Lithia, east of Tampa, was 11 feet above flood stage Wednesday but had dropped more than a foot since Tuesday.

The Anclote River, near Elfers, north of Clearwater is at four feet above flood levels and but has dropped since Tuesday.

The North Fork of Black Creek at Middleburg, west of Jacksonville, crested at 30 feet Tuesday and has since dropped to 21 feet, still above the 14-foot flood stage.

The St. Mary's River near Macclenny, west of Jacksonville, remains at 11 feet above flood stage but has dropped slightly since Tuesday.

The Suwannee River at White Springs, west of Lake City, is at flood stage of 76 feet and leveling.

Fisheating Creek in Palmdale, in Glades County, was more than three feet above flood stage and appeared to be leveling.

The Ocklawaha River at the Rodman Dam near Orange Springs is four feet above flood stage but has dropped almost a foot since Monday. Farther south, in Ocala, the river is also at flood levels but is also dropping.

Deep Creek at Spuds, a community in St. John's County, is still nearly three feet above flood stage but has dropped two feet since Monday.

Contact Mary Ellen Klas at [email protected] Follow @MaryEllenKlas

Comments
Seniors support ‘grandchildren’ with gun-control rally in Sun City Center

Seniors support ‘grandchildren’ with gun-control rally in Sun City Center

SUN CITY CENTER — Millions of women marched on Washington. Thousands of teenagers rallied in Tallahassee and Tampa Bay.And in Sun City Center, nearly 150 seniors held a demonstration for gun control on April 21, offering a simple but poignant message...
Published: 04/25/18

Sean Hannity, a Trump defender, under scrutiny for real estate deals

Atlanta Journal-Constitution (TNS)ATLANTA — On his Fox News program last summer, Sean Hannity effused praise for his guest, U.S. Housing Secretary Ben Carson. "I know you have done a good job," Hannity said. "You are a good man."Carson’s presence gav...
Published: 04/23/18
Having Cuba in the name of your company can be a financial risk and there is no solution

Having Cuba in the name of your company can be a financial risk and there is no solution

With the third largest Cuban American population, Cuba’s culture is celebrated throughout the Tampa Bay area and in a diversity of ways.Flags hang in homes, fashion is worn, music performed, food served.But be wary of honoring that heritage by puttin...
Published: 04/23/18
Trump says he doesn’t think personal lawyer will ‘flip’

Trump says he doesn’t think personal lawyer will ‘flip’

WEST PALM BEACH — President Donald Trump said Saturday that he doesn’t expect Michael Cohen, his longtime personal lawyer and fixer, to "flip" as the government investigates Cohen’s business dealings. Trump, in a series of tweets fired from Florida o...
Published: 04/21/18

Vive la France: Trump hosts glitzy White House state dinner

WASHINGTON — Now it’s President Donald Trump’s turn to pull off the ultimate charm offensive. Wined and dined on multiple state visits during his tour of Asia last year, Trump is paying it forward and celebrating nearly 250 years of U.S.-French relat...
Published: 04/21/18
Romano: Okay, now who sounds like a hysterical teen talking about guns?

Romano: Okay, now who sounds like a hysterical teen talking about guns?

The writer of the letter sounds hysterical. Perhaps a little desperate. And maybe that’s just who Marion Hammer is these days.Most of the world knows her as the take-no-prisoners maven of the National Rifle Association who directs Florida politicians...
Published: 04/21/18
Rick Scott’s term limits idea: Hugely popular and highly unrealistic

Rick Scott’s term limits idea: Hugely popular and highly unrealistic

WASHINGTON — Gov. Rick Scott’s first policy idea as a U.S. Senate candidate won’t happen and most of his fellow Republicans don’t support it.But it’s a surefire applause line at political rallies.Scott wants term limits for members of Congress: 12 ye...
Published: 04/23/18
Ex-FBI deputy director ‘disappointed’ in Comey comments

Ex-FBI deputy director ‘disappointed’ in Comey comments

WASHINGTON — Andrew McCabe, the former FBI deputy director, is "very upset and disappointed" by comments made by his former boss James Comey that contradict his account of a disclosure to the news media, McCabe’s lawyer said Friday. "Andy has at all ...
Published: 04/20/18
Carlton: Mayor’s race: plot twists, meteoric rises, candidate implosions. It’s what we do in Tampa.

Carlton: Mayor’s race: plot twists, meteoric rises, candidate implosions. It’s what we do in Tampa.

The one thing you can say for sure about electing a mayor in Tampa is you can’t really say anything for sure.Historical proof: A couple of elections ago, Harvard-educated hometown-boy-gone-to-Washington Frank Sanchez was going to be our next mayor, h...
Published: 04/20/18
Carlton: Kids, want to make them listen? Vote

Carlton: Kids, want to make them listen? Vote

Today across America, high school students are expected to walk out of class in their latest show of solidarity against gun violence and elected officials unwilling to do much about it. It marks a grim anniversary — 19 years since Columbine bra...
Published: 04/20/18