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Anclote River floods southwest Pasco neighborhoods

ELFERS – Hurricane Irma's rainfall turned to stormwater surge Tuesday, pushing the Anclote River into neighborhood streets in southwest Pasco County.

The river, measuring more than four feet above flood stages late Tuesday morning, covered streets within Anclote River Estates and neighboring Anclote River Acres, communities with a combined 224 homes just south of State Road 54.

The river was projected to crest at 25 feet during Tuesday evening's high tide. That is 5 feet above flood stage, but nearly 2 feet lower than what had been predicted earlier as Irma approached Florida.

"We're thankful it wasn't as bad as we were anticipating,'' said Kevin Guthrie, assistant county administrator for public safety, "but this is still a very significant incident for Pasco County residents. Some are breathing easier, but some are facing catastrophic damage to their personal residences.''

The county issued a voluntary evacuation order Monday afternoon for an estimated 883 people in the low-lying areas along the river, a vicinity that now has flooded for three consecutive summers. A few left home for the shelter at Fivay High School, said Guthrie.

But, to others, it is a familiar refrain.

"Yeah, we kind of already figured it would happen,'' Luisa Capra, 22, of Creek Drive said Monday afternoon. "It happens every time it rains.''

"I know the way the water runs," said Fred Taylor of Park Lake Estates off Old County Road 54. "We flood here, the RV Court down the road floods. It's always the same places."

He and his wife, Ruth, evacuated to Land O' Lakes for Irma, but planned to stay put in their home on Raccoon Loop as water flooded the community's entrance. Some drivers turned around, others plodded through even though authorities warn motorists not to take their vehicles through standing water.

"Someone will get stuck here before long,'' Taylor predicted.

The flood warning for the Anclote River continues until Friday morning when the river is expected to fall below its flood stage of 20 feet, according to the National Weather Service.

"It's coming fast," said Lydia Scaggs, snapping pictures of the flood water coming up Celtic Drive in Anclote River Estates. Her home made it through Irma, but she was ready to evacuate with her 13-year-old daughter, Sadie, on Tuesday, heeding the warning from deputies making the rounds in the neighborhood late Monday evening.

"I've got hurricane insurance, but no flood insurance, so this s---," she said, adding that she had no idea of the flooding problems when she moved into the neighborhood in July.

That's not the case for Al Clark, 66, who's lived along the river for 37 years and now is in his second house there. But this one is elevated six feet higher

"The house hasn't flooded yet - well the first house did, but the second house didn't, that's how dumb I am," he said.

"I never leave. I just go out to get more supplies," he said. "People, they steal your stuff. I like my stuff. It took me a long time to get my stuff."

The flood warning for the Anclote River continues until Friday morning when the river is expected to fall below its flood stage of 20 feet, according to the National Weather Service.

Anclote River floods southwest Pasco neighborhoods 09/12/17 [Last modified: Tuesday, September 12, 2017 3:23pm]
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