1. Local Weather

Flooding and power outages remain after storm leaves Florida

Flooding continued in Pasco County, leading to evacuations in antici-pation of the continued rise of the Anclote River. At left, high water obscures Mayfair Avenue in Hudson Saturday.
Flooding continued in Pasco County, leading to evacuations in antici-pation of the continued rise of the Anclote River. At left, high water obscures Mayfair Avenue in Hudson Saturday.
Published Sep. 4, 2016

Hurricane Hermine may have left Florida behind Friday, but residents statewide still experienced issues on Saturday.

Locally, tides and stormwater combine to create dangerous flooding that threatened homes and forced evacuations.

In Tallahassee, the problem was of a different nature: more than half the city's residents were without power Saturday. In neighboring Wakulla County, where Hermine made landfall, the problem was even worse.

After heavy rain Saturday, Pasco County officials announced a mandatory evacuation of homes in New Port Richey, according to a county news release. Many of the homes are in the vicinity of Celtic Drive and Elfers Parkway near the Anclote River, which is expected to approach major flood stage Sunday into Monday.

Worthington Court Apartments along State Road 54 and Blue Heron Mobile Home Park on Massachusetts Avenue, both in New Port Richey, also were under mandatory evacuation Saturday.

Utilities were shut off to those areas because of rising water, officials said. The Tampa Bay Red Cross announced over Twitter it was helping to shelter residents under mandatory evacuation.

Pasco County officials also issued a recommended self-evacuation for the Bass Lake area, Magnolia Valley area, Lake Worrell and the Suncoast Gateway Mobile Home Park.

Intersections from New Port Richey up to Hudson were covered in standing water, according to tweets from the Pasco County Sheriff's Office. Officials warned that sewage backflow could have contaminated those waters, and they advised residents to treat all standing water as unsanitary.

Flooding wasn't an issue in Hernando County, but people were still without power Saturday, said county spokeswoman Virginia Singer.

Also, two coastal county parks, Pine Island Park and Bayport Park, remained closed Saturday.

In Pinellas County, Tarpon Woods near East Lake was still under water, said county spokesman Nick Zoller. Crews were working Saturday to pump out the standing water, he said. Also, Duke Energy's power outage map showed several hundred Pinellas residents still without power Saturday.

No major issues were reported in Hillsborough County on Saturday, Emergency Management Director Preston Cook said.

The outages in the Tampa Bay area, though, were dwarfed by the outages in northern Florida. In Tallahassee, 57 percent of the residents experienced outages more than 24 hours after the storm hit. In Wakulla County, 72 percent were in the dark.

Sounding frustrated Friday night, Gov. Rick Scott brought county officials in to demand a faster response.

Among those without power were employees working in the Emergency Operations Center to coordinate statewide recovery.

The city of Tallahassee tweeted late Friday that crews were "drawing back" and would resume work Saturday morning. The city since promised Scott that city utility employees would work around the clock and posted new tweets saying "We have crews responding 24/7."

Private power companies, including Gulf Power and Florida Power and Light, have offered to help Tallahassee's municipal electric company and the Talquin Electric Cooperative.

The Salvation Army activated from Pasco up the coast to Wakulla County offering food and water to victims of the storm.

Contact Josh Solomon at (813) 909-4613 or Follow @josh_solomon15.