Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Rain leads to dozens of rush hour accidents

The wild weather that greeted morning commuters Thursday led to 76 crashes and at least 19 injuries in the Tampa Bay area during peak rush hour traffic, the Florida Highway Patrol said.

More than an inch of rain pounded the region, limiting visibility, forming ponds on roads and teaming with 40 mph wind gusts to make driving a nasty affair.

"People get crazy when it rains," said Marc Barese, 43, who saw three crashes as he drove into work in downtown St. Petersburg. "They forget how to drive."

From 6 to 9 a.m., the Florida Highway Patrol investigated 76 crashes, at least twice the number on a dry day. In the patrol's seven-county region, it was a total 102 crashes.

The problem was aggravated by a lack of rain in recent days, said Highway Patrol spokesman Sgt. Steve Gaskins.

Oil and debris builds up on roads, making them even slipperier when rain finally falls, he said.

"The biggest thing is the drivers," said Gaskins.

The key: slow down, build extra time into the commute, use headlights and turn signals, limit lane changes and increase braking distance between other cars.

Three of four crashes are due to speed, Gaskins said.

During rush hour, AAA Auto Club South dispatches about 2,000 drivers throughout Florida to clear roads of crashed cars. That number spikes when streets begin flooding, but it didn't get that bad on Thursday, said Joanna Newton, a spokeswoman.

Cooler weather followed the front into the Tampa Bay area, with lows tonight expected to drop into the 40s. High temperatures through the weekend will struggle to top 70.

Tampa International Airport received 1.06 inches of rain Thursday morning. Plant City saw the most rain in Tampa Bay with about 2 inches. St. Petersburg had 1.28 inches at Albert Whitted Airport, while Clearwater had about 1.27 inches. Pasco and Hernando counties each saw rainfall of about 1 inch.

High winds and lightning also caused brief problems. About 16,000 customers were without power for about five minutes in Hillsborough County early Thursday, according to Rick Morera, Tampa Electric spokesman.

Progress Energy reported about 1,000 people briefly without power in Pinellas County.

Follow This Just In on Twitter.

Rain leads to dozens of rush hour accidents 03/10/11 [Last modified: Thursday, March 10, 2011 6:26pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. No touchdown, but fun lesson for Bucs' Adam Humphries

    Bucs

    It didn't end up being a touchdown, but one of the Bucs' biggest hustle plays in Thursday's win over Jacksonville saw receiver Adam Humphries scoop up a loose ball just before halftime, after what looked like an incompletion but was correctly ruled a Jameis Winston fumble.

    Bucs WR Adam Humphries runs to the end zone with QB Jameis Winston trailing -- his alert play wasn't a touchdown because teammates cannot advance a fumble in the final two minutes of a half.
  2. Bucs' Demar Dotson should be back from injury next week

    Bucs

    The Bucs got good news on starting right tackle Demar Dotson, whose MRI showed only a mild right groin sprain and should be back at practice next week.

    Bucs tackle Demar Dotson, shown last year when he signed a three-year contract extension, should only miss a week of practice with his groin injury and can return healthy for the Bucs' season opener at Miami in three weeks. [Octavio Jones | Times]
  3. Comedy legend Jerry Lewis dead at 91

    Obituaries

    LOS ANGELES — Jerry Lewis, the manic, rubber-faced showman who jumped and hollered to fame in a lucrative partnership with Dean Martin, settled down to become a self-conscious screen auteur and found an even greater following as the tireless, teary host of the annual muscular dystrophy telethons, has died. He was …

    In this Sept. 2, 1990, file photo, entertainer Jerry Lewis makes his opening remarks at the 25th Anniversary of the Jerry Lewis MDA Labor Day Telethon fundraiser in Los Angeles. Lewis, the comedian whose fundraising telethons became as famous as his hit movies, has died according to his publicist. [Associated Press]
  4. Mastermind of lottery rigging scam that netted millions faces 25 years

    Nation

    DES MOINES, Iowa — For a decade, computer programmer Eddie Tipton reliably showed up for work at the central Iowa office of the Multi-State Lottery Association and earned the confidence of his co-workers, a team of technicians entrusted to build computers used to randomly pick numbers for some of the most popular …

    FILE - In this June 29, 2017, file photo, Eddie Tipton, the former Multi-State Lottery Association information security director who admitted to masterminding a scheme to rig lottery games that paid him and others $2 million from seven fixed jackpots in five states, is seen in court in Des Moines, Iowa. Tipton is scheduled to be sentenced Tuesday, Aug. 22. (Rodney White/The Des Moines Register via AP, File) IADES501
  5. Pasco County man killed in wrong-way crash on New Jersey Turnpike

    Accidents

    MOUNT LAUREL, N.J. — Authorities say a Florida man driving the wrong way on the New Jersey Turnpike was killed when his SUV crashed head-on into another vehicle.