Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

A piece of good news: Withlacoochee River not expected to flood anytime soon

RIDGE MANOR — This might be what passes for good news in the wake of Tropical Storm Debby and her record-setting rains:

The Withlacoochee River doesn't look like it will pose a big threat to its surrounding communities and low-lying areas in Hernando and Pasco counties. At least not anytime soon.

After initial predictions that the Withlacoochee would exceed flood stage by about 1 to 2 feet, forecasters have downgraded those estimates, according to the National Weather Service in Ruskin.

"We should see a flood rise through the rest of the week," said meteorologist Eric Oglesby. "But we're not projecting the type of numbers we were seeing initially."

The reason? Prior to the weekend rain, the river and its primary source, the Green Swamp, were extremely dry.

"Computer models don't work well when we're coming from a drought situation," Oglesby said.

At the Trilby observation station, the height of the river decreased Tuesday after peaking just under 5 feet. Flood stage at that location is 12 feet.

Despite the decrease, the level is forecast to jump to about 11 feet by Saturday morning. It could still increase after that. Oglesby said he would not be surprised if the river hit flood stage in five to seven days.

At Croom, the river was forecast to reach 8.5 feet on Saturday, just below the flood threshold of 9 feet.

Many residents on Tuesday said they were not afraid of any flooding threats.

"When the water gets up, then we'll get concerned," said Eddie Crain, 68.

Hernando County emergency officials had said Tuesday that flooding on the Withlacoochee was one of their greatest concerns. If the river flooded, it would likely close roads and threaten homes, turning some into islands.

"As an emergency manager, it doesn't matter if there's one home or 1,000, I'm going to be concerned," said Hernando emergency management director Cecilia Patella.

The threat of river flooding was enough to scare Krystal Stemen, who lives in a mobile home near the riverbank south of Ridge Manor.

She knows the river can reach her rented home, her family and friends inside.

"That's what scares me," the 23-year-old said. "I don't want that to happen again."

Stemen said she won't wait around if the water does start to approach her home.

Her plan is simple: Get her and her three kids out.

She hopes it won't come to that. She hopes her birthday on Saturday won't be ruined by a flooded house.

The same goes for her friend, Amanda Curry, also 23, who is sharing the home.

After Curry saw how fast the water could rise after Sunday's heavy rains, she plans to get her family out of there if the water gets anywhere close.

"I hear that it floods really bad," she said.

She said she was worried about her three young children and the hazards of floodwaters — the snakes, water moccasins in particular.

Danny Valentine can be reached at (352) 848-1432 or

A piece of good news: Withlacoochee River not expected to flood anytime soon 06/26/12 [Last modified: Tuesday, June 26, 2012 11:00pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Blake Snell shines as Rays beat Mariners to end skid (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Blake Snell delivered the best outing of his young career and the Rays offense continued its home run-hitting ways for a 3-0 victory Sunday against the Mariners in front of 13,354 at Tropicana Field.

  2. No touchdown, but fun lesson for Bucs' Adam Humphries


    It didn't end up being a touchdown, but one of the Bucs' biggest hustle plays in Thursday's win over Jacksonville saw receiver Adam Humphries scoop up a loose ball just before halftime, after what looked like an incompletion but was correctly ruled a Jameis Winston fumble.

    Bucs WR Adam Humphries runs to the end zone with QB Jameis Winston trailing -- his alert play wasn't a touchdown because teammates cannot advance a fumble in the final two minutes of a half.
  3. Bucs' Demar Dotson should be back from injury next week


    The Bucs got good news on starting right tackle Demar Dotson, whose MRI showed only a mild right groin sprain and should be back at practice next week.

    Bucs tackle Demar Dotson, shown last year when he signed a three-year contract extension, should only miss a week of practice with his groin injury and can return healthy for the Bucs' season opener at Miami in three weeks. [Octavio Jones | Times]
  4. Comedy legend Jerry Lewis dead at 91


    LOS ANGELES — Jerry Lewis, the manic, rubber-faced showman who jumped and hollered to fame in a lucrative partnership with Dean Martin, settled down to become a self-conscious screen auteur and found an even greater following as the tireless, teary host of the annual muscular dystrophy telethons, has died. He was …

    In this Sept. 2, 1990, file photo, entertainer Jerry Lewis makes his opening remarks at the 25th Anniversary of the Jerry Lewis MDA Labor Day Telethon fundraiser in Los Angeles. Lewis, the comedian whose fundraising telethons became as famous as his hit movies, has died according to his publicist. [Associated Press]
  5. Mastermind of lottery rigging scam that netted millions faces 25 years


    DES MOINES, Iowa — For a decade, computer programmer Eddie Tipton reliably showed up for work at the central Iowa office of the Multi-State Lottery Association and earned the confidence of his co-workers, a team of technicians entrusted to build computers used to randomly pick numbers for some of the most popular …

    FILE - In this June 29, 2017, file photo, Eddie Tipton, the former Multi-State Lottery Association information security director who admitted to masterminding a scheme to rig lottery games that paid him and others $2 million from seven fixed jackpots in five states, is seen in court in Des Moines, Iowa. Tipton is scheduled to be sentenced Tuesday, Aug. 22. (Rodney White/The Des Moines Register via AP, File) IADES501