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Heavy rains in Hernando renew flooding concerns

BROOKSVILLE — For Norm States, it was same situation, different week.

Standing on the edge of Bob White Drive inside Camper's Holiday Travel Park on Tuesday morning, States watched as a steady stream of water rushed toward nearby Sparkman Lake.

A few weeks earlier, the same scenario had played out, only worse. A heavy torrent that dumped nearly 7 inches of rain at the campground on Culbreath Road, south of Powell Road, caused the 14-acre lake to swell over its banks in late August. As a result, more than three dozen RVs, most of which were unoccupied by their snowbird owners, were underwater.

So once again, States, who manages the park, was wondering whether the worst was yet to come.

"When we get this much rain, there's just no place for it to go," he said. "We've just learned to deal with it the best we can."

Two days of heavy rainfall this week caused a number of flooding problems around Hernando County, forcing the closure of some roadways in low-lying areas, mostly around the Brooksville area. The possibility of additional rain kept emergency management officials on alert.

Hernando County Emergency Management director Cecilia Patella said Tuesday that although no evacuations had been necessary, fire-rescue units were continuing to monitor several areas, including Clover Leaf Farms on the north side of Brooksville, where some streets remained underwater.

Patella said that while Hernando County remained under a flood watch through this evening, there were no immediate plans to declare a state of emergency.

According to the National Weather Service, the county received about 5 inches of rain over a 24-hour period overlapping Monday and Tuesday. Up to 2 to 4 additional inches were expected, Patella said.

"We're asking people to remain vigilant because things can change very quickly in situations like this," she said.

Culbreath Road, from Powell Road to Endsley Road, remained barricaded Tuesday due to high water. In addition, county officials were monitoring the areas of Powell Road and Cedar Lane, and Citrus Way and Kensington Road.

Brooksville public works director Richard Radacky said that other than minor flooding at the intersection of Horse Lake and Wiscon roads, the city had encountered few problems from the deluge.

Patella said her worst concerns lie a few days down the road, as rainfall collects from tributaries and flows into the Withlacoochee River. The Southeast River Forecast Center has predicted a sharp increase in river levels through Saturday and said the Withlacoochee could be at "action" stage near Croom and at "minor" flood stage near Trilby by the end of the week.

As of Tuesday, the county was not providing sandbags to the public, but Patella said they are available at most local home improvement stores.

Logan Neill can be reached at lneill@tampabay.com or (352) 848-1435.

Heavy rains in Hernando renew flooding concerns 09/24/13 [Last modified: Tuesday, September 24, 2013 7:14pm]
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