RIDGE MANOR — The Withlacoochee River fell below flood stage Wednesday morning and is forecast to continue to drop throughout the week, providing a little relief for residents in flood-prone areas.
The river peaked at 12.54 feet on Sept. 6 at the Trilby observation site, near the Hernando-Pasco county line, and was above the 12-foot flood stage for a little more than a week. The river was at 11.89 feet Wednesday afternoon.
The most recent bout of minor flooding was the first time the Withlacoochee had crossed over flood stage since summer 2004, the year of hurricanes Charley, Frances, Ivan and Jeanne.
Flooding this year mostly just caused residents in low-lying areas to keep a vigilant eye on the water level. Flooding is considered "moderate" between 14.2 feet and 16.5 feet and "major" beyond that.
Heavy rainfall from tropical storms Debby and Isaac was largely to blame, although the region has seen consistently heavy rains throughout the summer.
At the Hernando County Airport south of Brooksville, more than 34 inches of rain was recorded for June, July and August, according to the National Weather Service.
Other surrounding locations recorded as much as 45 inches, said meteorologist Paul Close.