1. Local Weather

Initial damage assessment in Hernando shows two homes destroyed by Hermine

Residents evacuated the Elfers Parkway area of Pasco County as the Anclote River crested at 25.08 feet Sunday afternoon, officials said.
Residents evacuated the Elfers Parkway area of Pasco County as the Anclote River crested at 25.08 feet Sunday afternoon, officials said.
Published Sep. 5, 2016

Two homes were destroyed in Hernando County during Hurricane Hermine, according to county emergency management officials.

The type of damage and the locations of the homes were not immediately available.

Officials reported 18 properties with major damage and 131 with minor damage. A total of 326 homes were affected by the storm.

The assessment was released after 11 teams of building officials and property appraisers spent Saturday conducting initial damage assessments. Two of the teams focused first on reports of inland damage, then joined nine teams deployed along the coast. The total damage estimate: $6.9 million.

Emergency management director Cecilia Patella reported that the assessment was about 95 percent complete by Saturday evening. A smaller number of assessment teams was to be deployed Sunday to continue the work.

After significant flooding Friday caused by Hermine's storm surge and heavy rains, life appeared to be beginning to return to normal along the Hernando coast on Sunday. All roads were open. Standing water continued to puddle alongside some roadways, but there was no threat of additional flooding. Wet carpet and other soaked household belongings sat along the curb in front of a few homes in Hernando Beach and Aripeka.

Sheriff's Office and American Red Cross emergency response vehicles were set up at the Coast Guard Auxiliary building in Hernando Beach, but they were not particularly busy.

Most businesses and restaurants were open and appeared to be doing a brisk business, though the popular Bayport Inn remained closed.

Among the busiest places was Rogers Park, along the Weeki Wachee River, and the county boat ramp at Hernando Beach. Ramps at both of those locations were busy because one of the county's most popular boat-launch locations — Bayport Park — was closed indefinitely because of storm damage. Alfred A. McKethan Park at Pine Island remained closed as well.

The county announced that its West Hernando Convenience Center, at 2525 Osowaw Blvd. in Spring Hill, would be open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. today so residents can dispose of trash and debris. The ramp at the center is able to accommodate trailers up to 5 feet by 10 feet.

Hernando County Solid Waste also announced Sunday that it has partnered with Grubbs Emergency Services to offer curbside storm debris removal. Beginning today, the service will be available to ensure timely removal of trash and debris.