Make us your home page
Instagram

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 nipps@sptimes.com 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

Loading...
  1. Scaramucci publicly airs grievances at White House

    Politics

    WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump's new communications director exploded the smoldering tensions at the White House into a full-fledged conflagration Thursday, angrily daring Trump's chief of staff to deny he's a "leaker" and exposing West Wing backstabbing in language more suitable to a mobster movie than a …

    Chief of staff Reince Priebus was called a “paranoid schizo?phrenic.”
  2. Crist votes for measure that includes money for Trump's wall

    Blogs

    WASHINGTON – Rep. Charlie Crist was for it and against it.

  3. Tampa man arrested in fatal motel shooting

    Crime

    TAMPA — A Tampa man was arrested on a manslaughter charge Thursday in the death of Yasmine L. Tyson on Monday night.

    Christopher Lee Carithers, 37, of Tampa
  4. St. Pete's Downtown Looper expands service with $900,000 grant

    Transportation

    ST. PETERSBURG ­— The Downtown Looper will expand its route and its hours starting in October 2018 thanks to a $900,000 grant from the Florida Department of Transportation.

    A $900,000 DOT grant will finance two more trolleys, a longer route and longer service hours.
  5. Latest sewage crisis fallout: Higher utility bills in St. Pete

    Local Government

    ST. PETERSBURG — For months the cost of the city's sewage crisis has been measured in terms of environmental damage, legal ramifications and political repercussions.

    Now residents are about to get the bill.

    Signs at North Shore Park in St. Petersburg warn people in September 2016 to stay out of the water due to contamination from partially treated sewage during the height of the city's sewage crisis. Now the City Council is considering how much to raise utility rates to pay the $326 million bill to fix St. Petersburg's sewage system. [LARA CERRI   |   Times]