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Floodwaters receding in Tampa Bay area

Flooding throughout the Tampa Bay area was expected to recede Wednesday as Debby, now a tropical depression, moved into the Atlantic, according to the National Weather Service.

"It's going to be better today," said weather service meteorologist Anthony Reynes. "The worst is over."

As Debby inched closer to the area earlier this week, rivers throughout the Tampa Bay area were at risk of overflowing.

The worst flooding Wednesday morning was reported along the Anclote River near Holiday in Pasco County. The river reached a peak of 26.74 feet on Tuesday, close to breaking the record of 27.7 feet. On Wednesday afternoon, it was at about 24 feet, or about 8 feet above normal.

Water levels at the Anclote were expected to decline Wednesday to about 23 feet by midnight, according to the weather service.

In Pasco, county spokesman Eric Keaton said officials received three calls for service through the night.

Two shelters were opened there Tuesday as a mandatory evacuation was issued in the area west of the Anclote, east of Little Road and north of Plathe Road, which includes about 7,000 homes or businesses, Keaton said.

At the Chasco Elementary School in Port Richey, about 25 people reportedly stayed at the shelter overnight. And at the Fasano Shelter in Hudson, 51 people, 12 of them with special needs, and 15 pets spent the night.

In the Alafia River in Hillsborough County, flooding was reported just below 16, or 5 feet above normal, but that also was expected to decline by the evening.

Water levels were expected to return to normal within the next 48 hours, according to the weather service.

Reynes said the Tampa Bay area may see a few showers Wednesday, but it will not worsen the current flooding.

"By late afternoon and evening, we may even have mostly clear skies," he said. "We'll be able to enjoy our weekend. We earned it."

Floodwaters receding in Tampa Bay area 06/27/12 [Last modified: Wednesday, June 27, 2012 1:33pm]
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