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  1. Local Weather

How local counties are responding to the storm

Damaged houses and flooded beaches greeted much of the Tampa Bay area on Monday as Tropical Storm Debby hovered overhead. The response from county officials varied as the storm lashed some neighborhoods with rain and left others essentially untouched.

In Pinellas County, where the rain had stopped by 3 a.m. on Monday, officials declared a local state of emergency but otherwise ordered a more modest response than officials in other counties did. Shelters stayed closed, and sandbags were not distributed. Across the bay, where it continued to rain for much of the day, Pasco officials opened the Fasano hurricane shelter and urged residents to stay home. And in Hills­borough, the county helped evacuate an apartment complex, offered sand and sandbags to the public and opened a shelter on Monday afternoon.

There was no need to open shelters in Pinellas, said county spokesman Len Ciecieznski, because "the storm surge has not presented that sort of a threat." The American Red Cross opened a shelter at Chapel on the Hill, a church in Seminole. Brittany Meynardie, a volunteer for the organization, said six people spent Sunday night there.

The county sent work crews to clear storm drains. Residents may call (727) 464-4333 with any storm-related questions.

In St. Petersburg, city crews were sent to remove trees from public streets and to look for trouble spots. Sandbags were distributed Monday and also will be passed out from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. today at Northeast Park, 875 62nd Ave. NE.

Gulfport also provided sand and sandbags Monday at City Hall, 2401 51st St. S. Residents may call (727) 893-1089 for more information.

Hillsborough County officials closed roads and helped evacuate Sunshine Village, a flooded apartment complex near the University of South Florida campus. They opened a shelter in Town 'N Country on Sunday night, but no shelters were open on Monday until 4:30 p.m., when the county opened a shelter at Greco Middle School, 6925 E. Fowler Ave., because of flooding near USF.

Buses are running from the corner of 122nd and North 15th St. to the shelter.

Hillsborough County spokesman Willie Puz said crews had been dispatched to clear storm drains and had been working all night to minimize flooding. Sandbags were offered Monday at two county sites. Residents may call (813) 272-6900 to report problems or for information.

Pasco County and the American Red Cross opened the Mike Fasano Regional Hurricane Shelter, 11611 Denton Ave., in Hudson. By Monday afternoon, 26 people had found shelter there. Sandbags were available at the West Pasco Government Center, 7536 State St., New Port Richey; 7918 Rhodes Road, Hudson, Fire Station No. 10; 2952 Seven Springs Road, New Port Richey, Fire Station No. 17; and 6907 Dairy Road, Zephyrhills, Fire Station No.1. Residents in need of assistance may call the county's information center at (727) 847-8959.

Hernando County officials did not activate their Emergency Operations Center on Monday, but they did dispatch two teams to assess the damage to private property and public buildings.

Officials provided sandbags at Spring Hill Fire Rescue Station No. 1 on Parker Avenue, Spring Hill Fire Rescue Station No. 2 on Bob Hartung Court and the Brooksville Fire Department at 60 Veterans Drive. The Red Cross had three shelters on standby and on Monday evening opened one at the Ridge Manor Community Center on Cortez Boulevard.

Times staff writers Marissa Lang, Mark Puente, Barbara Behrendt and Bill Stevens contributed to this report.

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