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Heavy rain, saturated ground key factors in St. Petersburg flooding

ST. PETERSBURG — Parts of Pinellas County saw up to 4 inches of rain Monday from a storm that caused widespread flooding and forced 20 people to evacuate their apartments.

A heavy downpour forced 13 adults and seven children from Monte Cristo Apartments, 429 88th Ave. N, to evacuate.

It was not immediately clear how much rain fell on the apartments or how fast it fell. A rain gauge at Sawgrass Lake, about 4 miles away, recorded 2.45 inches.

The rate of the rainfall and the level of ground saturation are the two most important factors contributing to flooding, meteorologists said.

"If it rains too heavily in a short amount of time, the rain can't drain," said Bay News 9 meteorologist Juli Marquez.

A trained spotter in Seminole recorded 1 inch of rain in 10 minutes, according to the National Weather Service. "That would be very fast," said Marquez.

Rainfall of about 1 inch an hour is considered "moderate" for the area, said NWS meteorologist Tyler Fleming.

Pinellas County saw 1 to 4 inches of rain. The NWS issued an urban and small-stream flood advisory for Pinellas.

South Tampa has also been hit hard by flooding from recent storms.

One tow company estimated it pulled 100 vehicles from flooded streets last week. City officials blamed recent flooding on recent heavy rains and a high tide, which prevented water from running off.

Tampa received .22 inches at Tampa International Airport on Monday. New Port Richey in Pasco County got .76 inches while Weeki Wachee in Hernando County got 3.95 inches.

But relief is in the forecast.

Rain chances are expected to drop to 40 percent Tuesday then fall again to 20 percent on Wednesday, according to Bay News 9.

Heavy rain, saturated ground key factors in St. Petersburg flooding 09/27/11 [Last modified: Tuesday, September 27, 2011 11:40am]
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