Thursday, April 26, 2018
Tampa Bay Weather

Hurricane Irma: Hillsborough updates on schools, roads, closings and garbage pickup

Hillsborough County

Schools: Hillsborough schools have already cancelled classes through Tuesday. Assessments will be conducted at each school to determine whether Hurricane Irma inflicted structural damage. Schools Supt. Jeff Eakins will determine if individual school closures needs to be extended and for how long. For more information, visit: http://www.sdhc.k12.fl.us/doc/2015/emergency-management/resources/irmafaq/

Property Damage: Falling trees during Hurricane Irma destroyed "about a dozen" homes, Hillsborough County Fire Rescue Chief Dennis Jones said, but caused no fatalities. Wind gusts caused little structural damage but left more than 230,000 in the county without power.

Debris and Garbage Pickup: The City of Tampa will resume regular garbage collection Tuesday. Contractors will be removing debris from right of ways over the next week. Cut limbs into 4-foot pieces and place in a row.

In unincorporated Hillsborough, which also includes Tampa Palms, Hunter's Green and New Tampa, there will be no solid waste collection on Tuesday. Normal garbage and recycling collection service will resume on the next scheduled day for pickup of those items.

Closings: Tampa International Airport is expected to resume limited operations on Tuesday, with a gradual buildup to a full schedule in the coming days. St. Pete-Clearwater Airport said it will reopen on Tuesday and resume flights on Wednesday.

Busch Gardens Tampa Bay will remain closed on Tuesday but expects to reopen on Wednesday. Visitors can check the attraction's website and social media channels for updates.

The Lowry Park Zoo will remain closed Tuesday and plans to re-open 9:30 a.m. Wednesday. The zoo's Florida Environmental Education Center will also remain closed until Wednesday.

Rivers: Between 6 and 9 inches of rain fell across the county, which could cause record-high water levels in the Alafia and Little Manatee rivers. At 2 p.m. Monday, the Alafia River at Lithia was at 18.11 feet, 5 feet above flood stage. It is expected to crest at 20.7 feet Tuesday afternoon.

The Little Manatee at Wimauma was at 15.58 feet at 2 p.m. Monday. Flood stage is 11 feet, and it is expected to crest at 17.7 feet Tuesday afternoon.

Port of Tampa: Port Tampa Bay is expected to reopen at 2 p.m. Tuesday. The port only received minor damage and flooding.

Three petroleum vessels are expected to bring fuel into Port Tampa Bay when it reopens. Dozens of tanker trucks were loaded with gas, a fuel stored at Port Tampa Bay, and continue to be filled Monday, according to a news release. Fuel is delivered to Tampa Bay area gas stations and across Central Florida.

Travelers aboard the Carnival Paradise cruise ship on Sept. 7 departed Cozumel at 2 p.m. Monday to make its way back to Port Tampa Bay or Port Canaveral, depending on availability. The Carnival ship will arrive in Florida on Wednesday. If docked in Port Canaveral, guests may choose to be transferred to Tampa, or the Orlando airport, by bus or remain at Port Canaveral until Carnival returns the ship to Port Tampa Bay next Saturday.

Roads: The Hillsborough County Emergency Operations Center says that while there were still some downed trees and power lines Monday evening, along with minor flooding, most of the roadways in the county are open.

The Sheriff's Office warned motorists that a number of traffic signals remain out at intersections and to treat each one like a four-way stop. County officials also urged motorists to observe all barricades and detours, watch for workers clearing debris, follow all directional instructions and detour signs and refrain from driving through moving or standing water.

Two feet of standing water, officials said, is enough to disable many cars. Call (813) 272-5900 to report flooding and road problems or to request additional information.

Shelters: Nearly 29,000 evacuees were housed in 42 general-population shelters. As evacuees leave, Hillsborough County will begin to close shelters at most schools. Those who still need somewhere to stay can use three remaining shelters:

• Burnett Middle School, 1010 N. Kingsway Road, Seffner (pet-friendly)

• Middleton High School, 4801 N. 22nd Street, Tampa

• Shields Middle School, 15732 Beth Shields Way, Ruskin

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