Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Intense rains wreak havoc on Tampa Bay area

We expected rain, but not like this.

All over the Tampa Bay area Wednesday, the wet weather's effects ranged from dreary to disastrous. A tornado warning in Bloomingdale. Flooded streets in South Tampa during the morning rush hour. A lightning strike sending a man in Largo to a hospital. Ten blocks near Port Richey evacuated as water crept into homes.

"We knew a system was coming," Pasco County emergency management's Jim Martin said. "But we didn't know we'd get that much rain in just a couple hours. I guess it depends on where that little cloud opens up and dumps on you."

It dumped rain almost everywhere and throughout the day, as traffic lights went out in Pinellas, several flights were delayed at Tampa International Airport and roads closed throughout Pasco.

By Wednesday afternoon, some areas had received as much as 4 inches of rain, adding to 1- to 4-inch rainfalls the night before. Tampa set a record for the day with 4.72 inches, smashing the previous record of 2.84 inches in 1955.

And it's expected to continue.

Forecasters said today brings a 60 to 70 percent chance of showers. The rain should taper off Friday, according to the National Weather Service.

While some weather-related accidents, power outages and flooding damage occurred Wednesday, no serious injuries were reported.

A 77-year-old maintenance man at the Largo Southwest Recreation Center felt an indirect effect of lightning when it hit the roof of a metal shed where he was working.

Southeast of Tampa in Progress Village, 15 families were evacuated from homes on 82nd Street in Progress Village because of flooding from high tides and heavy rains. Hillsborough Fire Rescue officials said a shelter was set up at a local church as emergency personnel used boats to get people to safety. And the evacuees stayed with other family members Wednesday night.

Flooding closed the northbound George Bean Parkway, the inbound roadway to Tampa International Airport from Memorial Highway, for 90 minutes, forcing drivers to detour. The roadway is under construction, Department of Transportation spokesman John McShaffrey said, and shouldn't be so flood-prone when it's completed in late fall.

"We don't expect that to be a recurring problem every time it rains," he said. "That was an extraordinary amount of rain. The whole ditch system was full of water."

The showers arrived in what meteorologists call a train — several storms located along the same track. Some of the worst rain subsided by noon, though scattered showers remained all day and a flood watch was in effect into the night.

Times staff writer Kim Wilmath contributed to this report. Emily Nipps can be reached at or (727) 893-8452.

Intense rains wreak havoc on Tampa Bay area 07/01/09 [Last modified: Saturday, July 4, 2009 12:37pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Rick and Tom podcast: Worst-Case (Keenum) scenario


    Rick Stroud and Tom Jones break down the Bucs' 34-17 loss to the Vikings on Sunday in Minneapolis in their latest podcast.

    Minnesota Vikings quarterback Case Keenum (7) scrambles away from Bucs defensive end William Gholston (92) during the first half. [LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times]
  2. Tonight: Hear ideas for remaking downtown Tampa interchange


    TAMPA — New concepts for rebuilding the downtown interchange will be discussed at a Florida Department of Transportation community meeting Monday night.

    The Florida Department of Transportation renamed its controversial Tampa Bay Express plan, also known as TBX. The plan is now known as Tampa Bay Next, or TBN. [Florida Department of Transportation]
  3. Did you watch the second episode of 'Star Trek: Discovery'? Or just the first?


    CBS finally, finally, finally premiered its long-awaited new Star Trek series Discovery on Sunday night, albeit a bit delayed after 60 Minutes.

    Michelle Yeoh and Sonequa Martin-Green play the captain and first officer of the Shenzhou.
  4. Rick Scott's office deleted critical messages related to post-hurricane nursing home deaths

    As Florida continues to pick up the pieces in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma, more confusion builds around the 11 heat-related deaths at a South Florida nursing home following the storm earlier this month.

    Police surround the Rehabilitation Center in Hollywood Hills, Fla., which had no air conditioning after Hurricane Irma knocked out power. Several patients at the sweltering nursing home died in the storm's aftermath. [John McCall | South Florida Sun-Sentinel via AP]
  5. J.T. Brown of Lightning respects NFL players' protests


    There was something in the air in the NFL on Sunday. President Trump’s comments and tweets on NFL player protests achieved the effect of creating more of them. Lightning winger J.T. Brown was asked about it as he stood in a hall at Amalie Arena, a few hours before the Lightning played the Florida Panthers in …

    J.T. Brown, one of about 30 African-American players in the National Hockey League, would not rule out that he might protest.