Saturday, April 21, 2018
Tampa Bay Weather

Suncoast Parkway still flooded; some lanes may reopen Thursday

A section of the Suncoast Parkway in northern Hernando County is expected to be closed at least until Thursday or Friday as crews work to clear the road of water.

Pumps are being used to remove about 18 million gallons a day of water left behind by Tropical Storm Debby.

Once that water is removed, crews will begin inspecting and testing the roadway base and asphalt to see if the water caused any damage, said Christa Deason a spokeswoman with Florida's Turnpike Enterprise.

The inspections will likely begin Thursday morning, she said. Depending on the amount of damage, the southbound lanes could reopen sometime Thursday. The harder-hit northbound lanes will reopen no earlier than Friday, Deason said.

Meanwhile, there was some good news for Hernando County residents Tuesday as they looked ahead to today's Fourth of July holiday:

Alfred McKethan Park on Pine Island reopened Tuesday morning after Debby's high tides and wind took about 800 cubic yards of sand, forcing the park to close.

Crews worked throughout the weekend to repair the beach.

There were several other storm recovery developments:

• Brooksville fire Chief Tim Mossgrove told City Council members Monday night that response crews performed well during the storm and praised the city's proactive approach in dealing with the emergency.

The city fire and police departments answered 39 storm-related calls, with three requests for public assistance and one water rescue incident.

The worst flooding occurred in the Clover Leaf Farms mobile home community, causing between 15 and 20 homes to be evacuated.

"Overall, I think we fared pretty well," Mossgrove said. "We were luckier than a lot of other areas in the county."

• The Sheriff's Office announced that access to the Hernando County Detention Center continues to be restricted by flooding along Spring Hill Drive.

Anyone wishing to post a bail for an inmate at the jail should do so at Sheriff's Office headquarters at 18900 Cortez Blvd., Brooksville.

All visitation at the jail has been canceled until further notice.

Anyone with questions should contact the jail at (352) 797-3416.

• The Hernando County Health Department is offering free water testing for residents whose wells flooded during the tropical storm and could be contaminated with bacteria.

Residents may pick up sampling bags and instructions at 300 S Main St. in Brooksville from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays and Fridays or at 7551 Forest Oaks Blvd. in Spring Hill from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.

The water testing will be available from Friday until July 31.

For additional information, contact the Health Department's environmental health office at (352) 540-6839.

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