Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Pasco officials urge residents to prepare for Isaac

Residents were evacuated from the Suncoast Gateway Mobile Village in Port Richey when Tropical Storm Debby soaked the area in June


Residents were evacuated from the Suncoast Gateway Mobile Village in Port Richey when Tropical Storm Debby soaked the area in June

NEW PORT RICHEY — With Tropical Storm Isaac threatening Florida this weekend, Pasco officials are urging residents to get ready for wind and rain to drench an area that's still soaked from Debby.

Officials have not yet activated Pasco's Emergency Operations Center, but emergency management director Annette Doying said it could be partially activated Saturday.

Doying said "we're definitely in need of planning" for an evacuation of special-needs residents and those living in low-lying areas and mobile homes.

According to the latest forecast, Doying said the storm could bring rain and wind to the Tampa Bay area Monday afternoon. That would force an evacuation first thing Monday.

The biggest problem: Pasco has not yet dried out from Debby and several weeks of subsequent rainstorms.

"There's not much capacity in a lot of areas to take on any more water," she said.

In fact the recent rains alone have created a flooding threat along the Withlacoochee River. Hernando County Emergency Management director Cecilia Patella said her office was monitoring the rising water at the Trilby and Croom gauges along the river. Officials predicted that the river would reach "action" stage at some point Thursday, meaning residents along the river need to begin to prepare for the possibility of flooding.

The river remained 1 to 2 feet below flood stage Thursday afternoon.

With Isaac heading our way, officials said people should update their emergency plans and make a mental checklist of valuables and important documents to gather if a major storm hits. People should also monitor the latest storm forecasts.

County officials are staffing a resident information center through the weekend for people with questions about how to prepare. They are also offering sandbags at six locations.

The County Commission will meet at 2 p.m. Friday for an update and to decide whether to give administrators the power to make storm preparations over the weekend. Emergency officials will continue planning efforts with county public works employees and public safety officials.

Electric utilities are also getting ready. David Lambert, a spokesman for Withlacoochee River Electric Cooperative, said the company has ordered extra fuel and has all employees on standby. It also has contracted with out-of-state crews "just in case it is necessary for them to be here."

Lambert said the significant rainfall over the past several weeks could weaken the ground around trees and make them more susceptible to falling over in heavy winds.

"This has a good potential to be a problem because of the (previous) rain. We're just so wet," he said. "Even if we get a tropical storm, with sustained winds of 60 mph, we could still have significant power outages."

Doying said a silver lining is that forecasters are projecting only up to a quarter inch of rain until the storm is expected to hit. But she said even that is too much. "We need to dry out," she said.

Times staff writer Barbara Behrendt contributed to this report.

>>Fast facts

Get ready

for the storm

For information on how to prepare for the storm, call the county's resident information center at (727) 847-2411 or (727) 847-8959. The line will be staffed from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. through the weekend.

Sand and sandbags are available this weekend at the following locations, which will be open daily until 8 p.m. The limit is 20 bags per household. Bring your own shovel.

• West Pasco Government Center, 7536 State St., New Port Richey

• Fire Station No. 10, 7918 Rhodes Road, Hudson

• Fire Station No. 17, 2952 Seven Springs Road, New Port Richey

• Land O'Lakes Recreation Complex, 3032 Collier Parkway, Land O'Lakes

• C-Barn county fleet building, 30906 Warder Road, San Antonio

• Jack Mitchell Park, 4025 Little Road, New Port Richey

Pasco officials urge residents to prepare for Isaac 08/23/12 [Last modified: Thursday, August 23, 2012 7:06pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Tim Tebow Week: 12 stories from his Tampa Bay tour


    Alas, Tim Tebow Week — eight baseball games in eight nights that reunited Tebow with his Tampa Bay friends and admirers — is over. The fun ended Thursday night.

    St. Lucie Mets outfielder Tim Tebow meets fans and signs autographs before the beginning of the Mets at Threshers game at Spectrum Field on Thursday, Aug. 17, 2017 in Clearwater. DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD   |   Times

  2. Democrat Philip Levine won't attack Trump. Can he be Florida governor?


    If he decides to run, Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine will be the most enigmatic and unpredictable candidate for Florida governor in 2018.

    Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine is introduced before speaking at a Tampa Tiger Bay Club meeting at the Ferguson Law Center in Tampa on May 19. (LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times)
  3. What you need to know for Friday, Aug. 18


    Catching you up on overnight happenings, and what you need to know today.

    Read 'Hellfire from Above,' inside the Tampa Electric Co. power plant accident that left five people dead. [LUIS SANTANA | Times]
  4. Tampa is training ground for Team USA inline skating

    Human Interest

    TAMPA — The United States once dominated the sport known as international outdoor inline speed skating.

    Cotton Yarborough is one of five people from the Tampa Bay area on the national inline speed skating team. The team is competing in the world championships Aug. 27 in China. [Courtesy of Frank Holland]
  5. Grocery and hotel deals in reach for Tampa Encore project

    Economic Development

    TAMPA — After failing to land both Publix and Walmart, the Tampa Housing Authority says it is close to a deal to bring another well-known grocer to its Encore project.

    The Tampa Housing Authority's Encore project has housing like The Reed, pictured, but no retail. It is in talks to bring a grocer and two hotels to the site on the west side of Nebraska Avenue close to downtown Tampa.