Thursday, November 16, 2017
Tampa Bay Weather

Pasco: The latest on the recovery from Irma

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Shelters: Nearly 200 Pasco County residents remained in shelters Tuesday morning as emergency officials worked to get them home or to another location.

To allow schools to prepare for students' return Monday, the county wound down operations at Fivay High School in Hudson, where 27 evacuees still stayed, and at Wiregrass Ranch High in Wesley Chapel, which still had 168 storm evacuees.

Fire-rescue officers worked with the shelters to determine whether each person had a safe home to return to, and public transit then gave those people a ride home. For the others, the goal was to consolidate shelter operations at the Mike Fasano Hurricane Shelter in Hudson.

Those seeking shelter must meet one of the following criteria: Residents under the current voluntary evacuation for the Elfers area surrounding the Anclote River area or residents without power who require it for medical needs.

Damage report: County officials said they did not expect to have a preliminary damage estimate from Irma until later this week.

Residents were making good use of the new self-reporting system on the MyPasco App, said Kevin Guthrie, assistant county administrator for public safety, but the county also had to cull duplicative reports.

Zephyrhills High School aeronautics students were called in to duty Tuesday to help examine the extent of the damage in east Pasco, which shouldered the brunt of the storm. Having been instructed how to use drones, the students worked with the Emergency Operations Center to conduct unmanned flyovers of the area, school district spokeswoman Linda Cobbe said.

Sandbags: One of the questions confronting residents was what to do with all those sandbags they picked up in advance of Irma. What you should not do is dump them down storm drains, the county said.

Pasco County opened two locations for residents to drop off their sandbags: the Magnolia Valley clubhouse on Massachusetts Avenue in west Pasco and the Wesley Chapel District Park on Boyette Road.

Meanwhile, residents facing potential flooding from Irma's rainfall or storm surge could pick up sandbags at Pasco Fire Station 17 on Seven Springs Boulevard, New Port Richey, and at the Dade City Police Department on Pasco Avenue.

Trash removal: Assistant County Administrator Kevin Guthrie said private contractors would be on hand Thursday so the county could begin debris removal for residents.

Want to do it yourself?

Pasco County Solid Waste has resumed normal operations. Any residents — the county stressed residents, not businesses — with disaster debris related to Hurricane Irma may bring it to the East Pasco Transfer Station at 9626 Handcart Road, Dade City, or the West Pasco Resource Recovery Facility at 14606 Hays Road, Spring Hill. Fees will be waived. Hours of operation will be 7 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Police blotter: The Irma curfew in Pasco led to one arrest late Sunday night when a deputy — responding to a call about a possible burglary in progress — spotted a pedestrian walking just before midnight near Sear Forest Drive and Marine Parkway in the Gulf Harbors area of New Port Richey.

The deputy said he stopped the man, later identified as Enrique Santana, 36, of Garnet Drive, New Port Richey, because he had cloaked his face to try to obscure his identity and "was in a place, at a time and in a manner, not usual for law-abiding individuals.'' Santana was charged with possession of burglary tools after he was found to be carrying a small hammer, flashlight and an empty book bag, according to an arrest report.

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