Saturday, November 18, 2017
Tampa Bay Weather

Pasco: No Isaac damage; schools to resume Tuesday

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NEW PORT RICHEY — The outer bands of Isaac brought rain but no reports of damage in Pasco County.

Pasco schools, which closed Monday as a precaution, will reopen Tuesday.

"We will be back in school tomorrow, for sure," district spokeswoman Summer Robertson said shortly after the county completed its midmorning emergency operations meeting.

Robertson acknowledged that the district likely could have conducted classes Monday, given the lack of severe weather. But the district, like others around the state, made the call Sunday afternoon to close in order to give parents time to make arrangements for their children. At the time, the weather forecasts still called for heavy winds and rain in the region.

The district still received criticism for making its closure decision later than most other districts. But officials said they wanted to wait as long as possible before closing, to have the latest information available without causing too much inconvenience for families. Another factor in the mix was the county's use of district school buses for shelter evacuation.

"Better safe than sorry," Robertson said.

Officials at the county's Emergency Operations Center had no reports of injuries, and no reports of flooding or other damage from the storm. Pasco County government offices, which also closed Monday as a precaution, will reopen Tuesday.

The county had urged voluntary evacuations on Sunday for residents in flood-prone areas. About 18 people stayed overnight at the Mike Fasano Regional Hurricane Shelter in Hudson. Officials were making plans to close the shelter at 11 a.m. and deactivate the Emergency Operations Center at 2 p.m.

Michelle Sullivan, 55, slept on a cot at the shelter Sunday night. She lives at the Landings of St. Andrews on the coast in New Port Richey. "I figured better to be safe than sorry,'' she said. The county sent a bus to pick her up. "I was the only rider,'' she said.

Officials urged Pasco residents to remain vigilant: The county could still see rain and high winds, with the possibility of tornadoes as Isaac continues its march toward the Gulf Coast. The Anclote River could still reach flood stage at Elfers on Wednesday.

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