Monday, June 18, 2018
Tampa Bay Weather

Hernando residents watch rising Withlacoochee River with dread

RIDGE MANOR — Terry Price sat with his shih tzu and a pack of cigarettes on a wooden porch outside his son's home on Tuesday afternoon. It had become an island thanks to the rising waters of the Withlacoochee River behind his Hernando County home.

LIVE BLOG: The latest on Hurricane Irma

"The worst part is, it's still coming," he said of the brown, murky water filled with trash, debris and even a small, tan boat sitting in his water-logged lawn.

And the water will keep coming.

The National Weather Service said the river is expected to rise another two feet by Sunday, capping out at 16.3 feet, which is just .2 feet below what is considered major flood stage.

Price, 63, said he first noticed the rising waters late Monday in the backyard of their property on Tiger Street, in a community called Talisman Estates just south of Ridge Manor, after simultaneous high tide and storm surge fueled by Hurricane Irma.

COMPLETE COVERAGE:Find all our coverage about Hurricane Irma here

By 3 p.m. Tuesday, the water had reached across the street — crawling as high as what one neighbor called "belly-button deep" in some places. Nearly every yard on the street had become an extension of the river.

"It's not looking good around here," said Price, who rode out the storm from the window of his fifth-wheel RV, parked in the yard and now an island onto itself, too, while drinking a glass of wine and comforting his worried shih tzu, Lil Bit. "I guess if it comes to it, I'll just hold my breath and float."

Across the street, Eileen Lempicki, 51, choked back tears as her daughter, Krystal Whitmore, 28, hauled a flatscreen TV and other valuables out of their red-and-white mobile home.

They feared the rising water, already flooding their yard, will soon make its way into their home. They've lived there for about a year with Lempicki's husband and Whitmore's two small children.

They tried to evacuate the area but had no luck finding gas far north as Ocala. The family had to return and ride out the storm at home on Sunday night from inside a brick addition on the side of the mobile home.

Everything went dark about 10 p.m. Later, a massive oak tree came crashing into the yard, narrowly missing their hiding place.

Lempicki said she has medical problems that cause seizures, and the stress of the storm caused her to have two overnight on Sunday. She worried what else the flooding will bring.

"When it got light out, we came out to see what had happened, and it's just a catastrophe," she said. "As the waters rise I just get more emotional ... I feel like I'm going to have to start all over again."

They planned to spend Tuesday night in a Tampa hotel room.

Contact Megan Reeves at [email protected] Follow @mareevs.

 
Comments
Forecast: High humidity, searing temperatures and little rain across Tampa Bay

Forecast: High humidity, searing temperatures and little rain across Tampa Bay

Dry air will keep rain chances down Tuesday, which could be a good or bad thing depending on your afternoon plans.While showers will be at a minimum, the searing heat won’t be as high humidity and mostly sunny skies will push the heat index at ar nea...
Published: 06/19/18
Forecast: Hot and humid across Tampa Bay, with potentially wet weekend

Forecast: Hot and humid across Tampa Bay, with potentially wet weekend

Summer officially doesn’t start for another three days, but that won’t stop the searing temperatures and stifling humidity from making for a hot and sticky week across Tampa Bay. Temperatures will climb well into the 90s — and feel...
Published: 06/18/18
Forecast: Plenty of sunshine for Father’s Day with small chances of isolated showers

Forecast: Plenty of sunshine for Father’s Day with small chances of isolated showers

As the week comes to a close, Tampa Bay can expect some pretty standard summer-like days with highs near the 90s and afternoon showers popping up around the bay.Friday morning, Tampa Bay will rise with a lot of sunshine. Some scattered showers may dr...
Published: 06/15/18
Strong winds from Tropical Storm Bud hit Mexico’s Los Cabos

Strong winds from Tropical Storm Bud hit Mexico’s Los Cabos

SAN JOSE DEL CABO, Mexico — Tropical Storm Bud lashed the southern end of Mexico’s Baja California Peninsula, home to the popular beach resorts of Los Cabos, with heavy winds Thursday as locals and tourists braced for an expected landfall later in th...
Published: 06/14/18
Check out this waterspout that formed in waters off Egmont Key

Check out this waterspout that formed in waters off Egmont Key

ST. PETERSBURG — While the chance for an isolated shower or thunderstorm along the coast will remain just that this week, that doesn’t preclude the possibility a strong cell could form in the morning.That exact scenario occurred Thursday morning as T...
Published: 06/14/18
Forecast: Early taste of summer for Father’s Day across Tampa Bay

Forecast: Early taste of summer for Father’s Day across Tampa Bay

Summer officially starts one week from today, but the familiar summertime pattern is firmly intact across Tampa Bay.That means warm days, high humidity and a small chance for an isolated popup afternoon storm. In other words, a great opportunity to h...
Published: 06/14/18
Forecast: Hot days, scattered showers are still the rule across Tampa Bay

Forecast: Hot days, scattered showers are still the rule across Tampa Bay

Tampa Bay should continue seeing summer-like days through the rest of the week with sunny, partly cloudy skies and a chance for pop-up afternoon showers.A light westerly flow off the Gulf of Mexico will help push coastal breezes further inland, carry...
Published: 06/13/18
Forecast: Typical June week for Tampa Bay with hot afternoons, mostly sunny skies

Forecast: Typical June week for Tampa Bay with hot afternoons, mostly sunny skies

Monday should set up a pretty typical June week, with hot temperatures and a very low chance for brief scattered showers.Afternoon highs should be near 90 under mostly sunny skies and a small chance of pop up scattered showers that will dissipate qui...
Published: 06/11/18
Forecast: Sunny skies to make for ideal beach weekend across Tampa Bay

Forecast: Sunny skies to make for ideal beach weekend across Tampa Bay

There is a chance of rain throughout Friday, but the weekend should be perfect to make those beach plans.Similar to the past two days, showers could appear around the coast early Friday morning, but by the afternoon those storms should move inland, a...
Published: 06/08/18
Hurricane 2018: Pinellas County gears up for storm season

Hurricane 2018: Pinellas County gears up for storm season

LARGO — Improving the evacuation process was the biggest lesson learned in Hurricane Irma, Pinellas emergency officials said Thursday.Interim Emergency Management Director David Halstead said although the department got out evacuation information las...
Published: 06/07/18