Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Hernando, Pasco assess damage, clean up after Thursday downpour

BROOKSVILLE — As he surveyed the standing water that still surrounded about three dozen homes Friday at Campers Holiday Travel Park, south of Brooksville, park president Norm States shook his head and muttered.

"Well, there's going to be a lot to clean up afterward," States said. "But we've been through it before, and we'll get through it again."

The downpour that hovered over central Hernando and Pasco counties for more than two hours late Thursday afternoon caused widespread damage that had emergency officials scrambling.

Hardest hit were the south side of Brooksville and areas to the south of the city, where high waters flooded streets, homes and store parking lots.

The National Weather Service reported 3.37 inches of rain at Brooksville-Tampa Bay Regional Airport, south of Brooksville. But together with the nearly 2 inches of rain the airport received Wednesday, the cumulative total was more than the area's network of drainage ditches and retention ponds could handle.

Higher rainfall totals were reported elsewhere in Hernando and Pasco, and officials remained concerned over the forecast of additional rain in the coming days.

High waters Thursday forced several people, including Sylvia Highburger, 80, to evacuate to a shelter set up by the American Red Cross at First United Methodist Church in Brooksville.

"It was upsetting," said Highburger, who was rescued by canoe-paddling neighbors from her sister's home near Sparkman Lake south of Brooksville. "The water was rushing, and it was pouring."

As cleanup efforts continued Friday, emergency officials were thankful that things hadn't gotten worse.

Brooksville fire Chief Tim Mossgrove said that the torrent of rain flooded several stores near the intersection of Cortez Boulevard and Broad Street, and almost cost some people their lives.

"We were very lucky," Mossgrove said.

Firefighters performed two swift-water rescues to free people trapped in vehicles, including a man in the Big Lots parking lot on Cortez Boulevard whose car was swept into deep water as he tried to exit the lot.

Some of the city's worst damage occurred in areas that have a history of flooding, including Greenbriar Villa Apartments, off Cortez Boulevard, where power to some units had to be shut off to avoid a potentially dangerous situation.

Angela Mees, an employee at the Brooksville Big Lots, said water inside the store rose above her ankles. Standing outside the front door late Thursday, she pointed inside at furniture and other items that had been moved or knocked over by the water.

"It looks like a disaster," she said.

In Pasco County, the rain was so torrential in Wesley Chapel that the drains couldn't pull it out of the paved outdoor common area at Weightman Middle School fast enough to keep water from flooding some offices and classrooms, assistant superintendent Ray Gadd said.

"It didn't stop us from opening school," Gadd said Friday.

The Pasco school district also had isolated roof leaks on some of its buildings, including at Watergrass Elementary in Wesley Chapel and Gulf High in New Port Richey. Maintenance crews worked into the night making repairs.

Times staff writers Danny Valentine, Alison Barnwell, Lisa Buie and Jeffrey S. Solochek contributed to this report. Logan Neill can be reached at [email protected] or (352) 848-1435.

Hernando, Pasco assess damage, clean up after Thursday downpour 08/23/13 [Last modified: Friday, August 23, 2013 10:58pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Late fumble, field goal send Florida State to another loss


    TALLAHASSEE — Florida State's streak of 35 consecutive bowl appearances is in serious jeopardy after a last-second 31-28 home loss to Louisville on Saturday.

    Louisville's Lamar Jackson gets past Florida State's Matthew Thomas to score in the first quarter of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Oct. 21, 2017, in Tallahassee Fla. (AP Photo/Steve Cannon) FLSC102
  2. Funeral starts for soldier at center of Trump fight


    COOPER CITY, Fla. (AP) — Mourners remembered not only a U.S. soldier whose combat death in Africa led to a political fight between President Donald Trump and a Florida congresswoman but his three comrades who died with him.

    The casket of Sgt. La David T. Johnson of Miami Gardens, who was killed in an ambush in Niger. is wheeled out after a viewing at the Christ The Rock Church, Friday, Oct. 20, 2017  in Cooper City, Fla. (Pedro Portal/Miami Herald via AP) FLMIH102
  3. Seasoned cast scores an extra-base hit for St. Petersburg Opera with 'Faust'


    TAMPA — Charles Gounod's Faust sets the table early. The world-weary philosopher immortalized in a dramatic poem by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe is in his study, lamenting his state of affairs. He's willing to give away everything he has to be young again, even his soul.

    The St. Petersburg Opera Company begins its season with Faust, in a production seemingly aligned with the original intent of French composer Charles Gounod and librettists Jules Barbier and Michel Carre. [St. Petersburg Opera Company]
  4. Police plan community meeting as search for Seminole Heights killer continues


    TAMPA — With people in Seminole Heights on edge following three related shooting deaths on their streets, police have planned a community meeting for Monday.

    The three Seminole Heights victims, from left: Benjamin Edward Mitchell, 22; Monica Caridad Hoffa, 32; and Anthony Naiboa, 20. [Facebook, family photos]
  5. Bucs-Bills: Tampa Bay's fatal habit of falling behind


    TAMPA — Okay, all you road scholars, why do the Bucs keep falling behind in games not played at Raymond James Stadium?

    Arizona Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer (3) recovers a fumble during the first half of an NFL game between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Ariz., on Sunday, Oct. 15, 2017.