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Pasco: Rains bring no end in sight for sogginess

David Owens, 35, and daughter Mikayla Rose Owens, 2, walk along flooded Rally Lane on Wednesday in New Port Richey. 

DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Times

David Owens, 35, and daughter Mikayla Rose Owens, 2, walk along flooded Rally Lane on Wednesday in New Port Richey. 

If you found yourself wading rather than walking to your car this morning, you're not alone. It's hard to remember the last completely dry day in Pasco County.

Tropical Storm Debby gave us the wettest June since 2003 when it dumped nearly a foot of rain on Tampa Bay, said Pasco County spokesman Eric Keaton.

He said Pasco Stormwater Management had to rent pumps from a local vendor during the storm and eventually exhausted the vendor's supply. It now has to search for a new vendor to continue pumping water from roads, yards and living rooms.

And the rain keeps coming.

So far this month, the National Weather Service has tracked 3.92 inches of rain in St. Leo, its only official weather station in Pasco.

The rainfall may be higher as you move west, though. The Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow Network, a nonprofit organization of volunteers reporting weather conditions throughout the nation, reported 6.84 inches so far this month in Hudson. The group logged 7.2 inches in Port Richey and 6.46 inches near Cypress Creek.

Jennifer Colson, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service, said the rainfall across Pasco County is swelling rivers that have only recently abated after Debby. She described the Anclote River as being in "action stage," which means it is not yet flooded, but close. Cypress Creek has risen to 8.3 feet, a few inches above the safe level, and meteorologists expect it to rise to 9.5 feet.

Deb Hamilton is a certified arborist and Pasco master gardener through the Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences at the University of Florida. She said another issue arising from the thunderstorms is tree damage. Wind has knocked branches from trees, causing dead spots, she said.

Hamilton said the saturation level of the ground has also caused trees without firm roots to topple. She said four trees in her Wesley Chapel neighborhood fell during heavy winds on July 10. None caused damage, she said, as they were in open areas.

Keaton said the most common question he's heard lately is whether individuals whose property wasn't damaged by Debby can apply for Federal Emergency Management Agency aid if the more recent rain caused damage.

Do it, Keaton said. Pasco County is still considered a disaster zone. With still more storms dominating the seven-day forecast, it's hard to say when it won't be.

Mary Kenney can be reached at mkenney@tampabay.com or (727) 869-6247.

>>fast facts

Where to find sandbags, assistance

• Sand and sandbags are available at the Land O'Lakes Recreation Center at 3032 Collier Parkway, the Warder Road Public Works Facility at 30906 Warder Road in San Antonio) and the Public Works Administration building at 7536 State St. in New Port Richey. Please bring a shovel.

• The County's Disaster Recovery Center at 4444 Grand Blvd. (at Trouble Creek Road), New Port Richey, is open to assist residents. It's open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday, noon to 6 p.m. Sunday.

• To apply for assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, call 1-800-621-3362 (TTY, 1-800-462-7585). You can also go to www.DisasterAssistance.gov or use the FEMA app on your smartphone or tablet at m.fema.gov.

inches of rain

so far this month

3.92



in St. Leo

6.84



in Hudson

7.2



in Port Richey

6.46



Cypress Creek

Sources: National Weather Service for the St. Leo total and the Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow Network for the others

Pasco: Rains bring no end in sight for sogginess 07/18/12 [Last modified: Wednesday, July 18, 2012 9:50pm]

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