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Florida's Suncoast is Drenched

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  • Florida's Suncoast is Drenched

    Heavy Rains pounded Florida for the 2nd full day. The counties of Manatee, Hillsborough, Pasco, Pinellas, Hernando and Citrus were subjected to torrential downpours, thunder and lightning. During the past 3 days some areas have received 12 inches of rain.

    In Hillsborough County the Alphia River was projected to crest 15 feet above flood stage.

    In Pasco County local subdivisions were flooded with water reaching the doors of some houses.

    In Hernando County in some developements in the City of Brooksville saw water levels residents who have lived there for years have never seen. Some businesses were flooded and houses in Lakeside Villas were taking on water and the power company cut all power to that area due to the transformers being under water. In the Cloverleaf Community and RV Park most of the lower lying areas were under water with the main entrances inaccessible. Officials from the community opened rear gates that are normally locked for security reasons.

    Emergency Management Officials worked with the Red Cross as they scurried to prepare for possible evacuation.

    Chances of rain of the same magnitude were predicted @ 80% today, 50% tonight and 80% again tomorrow. Rainfall predictions were for antoher 4-6" possibly with as much as 2"/hour in some areas.

    NOTE: When I did this edit a little over 1" of rain has already fallen at my house since about 12:30. As I look outside the sky is black in all directions.
    Last edited by distchief60b; 06-21-2003, 02:05 PM.
    09-11 .. 343 "All Gave Some..Some Gave ALL" God Bless..R.I.P.
    IACOJ Minister of Southern Comfort
    "Purple Hydrant" Recipient (3 Times)
    BMI Investigator
    The comments, opinions, and positions expressed here are mine. They are expressed respectfully, in the spirit of safety and progress. They do not reflect the opinions or positions of my employer or my department.

  • #2
    Follow Up

    Rain Brings Tornado, Flooding
    By NEIL JOHNSON [email protected]
    Published: Jun 21, 2003

    TAMPA - A second day's onslaught of storms spawned a tornado over Pinellas County, closed roads and put three area rivers in danger of flooding.
    More heavy rain is expected today, and forecasters are unsure whether the soggy weather will extend into Sunday.

    Today's rain could exceed the 1 to 2 inches most of the Tampa Bay area received Friday, said Eric Oglesby, meteorologist with the National Weather Service office in Ruskin. The rain should be concentrated from Hernando County south through Hillsborough, he said.

    What was not clear to forecasters Friday was whether the situation that dragged moisture-laden tropical air over the state since Thursday will shift in time to end the daily deluges by Sunday.

    ``It's just up in the air. It's 50-50,'' Oglesby said.

    At about 5 p.m. Friday, radar showed the possibility of a tornado over Pinellas, he said, but there were no reports of it touching down.

    Still, the second day of thunderstorms caused problems.

    Emergency management officials in Pasco were watching the Bear Creek region in the northwest part of the county, an area drenched by 8 to 10 inches of rain Thursday and a total of more than 15 inches this week.

    Two mobile homes were reported with water inside, and some local roads were submerged.

    ``It is a situation where one more inch and the teacup could overflow. We're holding our breath,'' said Michele Baker, Pasco emergency management director.

    The heavy rain prompted Pasco officials to open three locations where residents can get sandbags. They are at fire stations in Zephyrhills and Seven Springs and the government center on Little Road.

    A flood watch issued Thursday was extended through today for coastal counties from Citrus south to Hillsborough.

    Also, the weather service warned residents around three rivers - the Peace in Bartow, the Alafia in Lithia and the Little Manatee in Wimauma - to expect minor to moderate flooding today and Sunday.

    By Friday afternoon, both the Alafia and Little Manatee rivers in southern Hillsborough County were slightly above normal but had not approached flood stage. That was expected to change by today, Oglesby said.

    In Hernando County, rain was blamed for a traffic wreck Friday afternoon that killed one person and seriously injured another. Water also flooded intersections and washed out streets in Brooksville.

    ``We had a lot of localized flooding, reports of cars stuck,'' said Lt. Joe Paez, spokesman for the Hernando County Sheriff's Office.

    In Citrus, which received the brunt of Friday's weather, State Road 490 in the western part of the county was closed by flooding.

    Reporter Susan Anastasia and Ray Reyes of Hernando Today contributed to this report. Reporter Neil Johnson can be reached at (352) 544-5214.
    09-11 .. 343 "All Gave Some..Some Gave ALL" God Bless..R.I.P.
    IACOJ Minister of Southern Comfort
    "Purple Hydrant" Recipient (3 Times)
    BMI Investigator
    The comments, opinions, and positions expressed here are mine. They are expressed respectfully, in the spirit of safety and progress. They do not reflect the opinions or positions of my employer or my department.


    • #3
      Follow Up 06/21/03

      Gainesville Sun

      Conditions are ripe for rain
      Steady rain leads to some flooding, forcing road closures in region

      Sun staff writer

      In Marion County, rescuers saved a girl after the van she was riding in slid off a rain-slicked road into a water-filled ditch.

      The rain became more than just an annoyance Friday in parts of North Central Florida, as flooding forced officials to close some roads in Levy County.

      Parts of southern Levy County have endured eight inches of rain in the past couple of days, said Mark Johnson, interim director of the Emergency Operations Center in Levy County.

      "The ground is so saturated; it's just starting to pool up," Johnson said.

      Officials closed part of State Road 40 west in Yankeetown on Friday, as well as other minor roads throughout Levy County, he said. Some Cedar Key roads also saw flooding.

      "We ask that people be careful while driving. Use common sense; don't drive into areas you can't see," Johnson said. "You don't know if it's been washed out."

      The National Weather Service issued a flood warning Friday for Levy and Citrus counties, along with a flood watch for Dixie and Taylor counties.

      In northern Marion County, a 4-year-old girl was saved by rescuers after the van she was a passenger in slid off the rain-slicked roads into a water-filled ditch near Sparr.

      Diamond Salmon of Ocala was in a car seat when firefighters got to her. They had to remove the seat in front of her to reach her. They found the straps used to hold the car seat in place were loose - which may have saved her life because Diamond was able to float on the car seat.

      "Once she saw my hand, she clutched it real tight and held on," said Wayland Schulz, a firefighter with Marion County Fire Rescue. "Then, I was able to pull her out."

      There were no such life-threatening weather-related problems in Gainesville, but drivers had to deal with a few trees falling into roads and a new sinkhole on SW 43rd Street near Marchwood Condominiums, said Joby Wise, Gainesville Fire Rescue spokesman.

      The sinkhole was about four feet in diameter, and the Department of Transportation was called to fill it Friday.

      The Gainesville Regional Airport recorded one quarter of an inch of rain by 9 p.m. Friday.

      Tropical moisture picked up by upper-level winds caused the long-lasting bout of rain, meteorologists say.

      "It's just kind of set up over North Central Florida over the last few days," Camps said.

      The storms are developing ahead of a cold front, Camps said. And with the summertime atmosphere ripe for rain, storms keep breeding, he said.

      But the rainy weather isn't expected to stick around for very long.

      Drier weather is expected next week, with a return to the normal summertime pattern of afternoon thunderstorms, Camp said. There is a 50 percent chance of rain today; 40 percent tonight; and a 20 percent chance Sunday. High temperatures will remain near 90 degrees.

      Kathy Ciotola can be reached at 338-3109 or ciotolk@ gvillesun.com. The Ocala Star-Banner contributed to this report.
      09-11 .. 343 "All Gave Some..Some Gave ALL" God Bless..R.I.P.
      IACOJ Minister of Southern Comfort
      "Purple Hydrant" Recipient (3 Times)
      BMI Investigator
      The comments, opinions, and positions expressed here are mine. They are expressed respectfully, in the spirit of safety and progress. They do not reflect the opinions or positions of my employer or my department.


      • #4
        Evacuations Begin

        Torrential Rains and high winds pounded the coastal counties for another straight day with no relief in sight until monday. Manatee residents were forced to evacuate due to problems with a flood gate in the Manatee River Dam.
        St. Petersburg Times

        Hundreds flee as Manatee River rises
        On a day with widespread floods, the worst, below Lake Manatee, starts to recede by dusk. Today's forecast calls for less rain.

        By BRADY DENNIS, Times Staff Writer
        © St. Petersburg Times
        published June 23, 2003

        BRADENTON - Before first light Sunday, Manatee County sheriff's deputies started knocking on doors. Emergency dispatchers called homes. County officials sent out a reverse 911 alert.

        They all carried the same message: The river is rising. The water is coming. You should leave. Now.

        With the rain falling fast and angry, as it had for days, residents evacuated as many as 700 homes along the swelling Manatee River.

        They fled quickly, leaving behind cars and dogs, cattle and keepsakes.

        Jeanette Powell, 46, grabbed her Bible and her medications. She left her home on Faith Circle and went to a local shelter with her daughter and husband and a couple of hundred neighbors.

        She spent the day waiting, wondering and reading Psalms.

        "When there's hard times or troubles, there's a lot of comfort in them," she said.

        Powell wasn't the only one praying on Sunday. Rain fell steadily as floodwaters flowed throughout west central Florida.

        In Hillsborough County, the Alafia River, which floods at 13 feet, had risen to nearly 17 feet Sunday afternoon. It was expected to crest at 181/2 feet early today.

        Darryl and Karen Wagner, who live along the river, said the streets leading out of their neighborhood had been flooded since Saturday, making driving impossible.

        "We canoed out yesterday to get some groceries," Karen Wagner said.

        In Pasco County, residents on Otis Allen Road and Wire Road, a flood-prone area outside Zephyrhills, waited for relief from flooded streets and yards. Four inches of water poured into one house on Sunshine Road, on the northwest side of the city.

        Heavy rains also continued to soak Pinellas, Hernando and Citrus counties. Street flooding was the most commonly reported problem.

        But the worst flooding came in this rural stretch of Manatee County, just east of Bradenton and downstream from Lake Manatee. It is a place where middle-class subdivisions and small mobile home parks border cow pastures and stretches of open land.

        County commissioners convened early Sunday and declared a state of emergency in the area.

        The trouble began late Saturday night when one of three flood gates on the dam at the Manatee County Water Treatment Plant jammed for hours. The malfunction kept workers from draining Lake Manatee as fast as they wanted.

        "The lake level was rising at a rate we were concerned with," said Mike Terrell, risk manager for the Manatee Division of Emergency Management.

        Divers and crews worked through the night and finally forced the gate open just after 11 a.m.

        As 18,000 cubic feet of water per second roared through the dam Sunday morning, several homes downstream already were flooded, and several more awaited the same fate.

        Officials said they had to release water into the Manatee River to keep the lake - which rose more than 5 feet higher than normal - from pouring into its emergency spillways.

        But downstream, the water kept rising. By noon, nearby Rye Bridge was under 8 feet of water, officials said.

        Emergency workers posted signs along area roads: Caution, high water. They set up roadblocks when several main roads, including Rye Road and Upper Manatee River Road, became impassable.

        Just beyond the sheriff's blockades, both roads disappeared into a growing sea of water.

        Volunteers showed up with canoes and rafts and airboats - some with eagles painted on the sides and logos such as "Hi Tech Redneck" - to help sheriff's deputies navigate the flooded streets.

        They rescued a cocker spaniel and a black Labrador retriever that had been left behind. They checked on homes and livestock and the nearby sheriff's youth ranch.

        They stood around and chatted and did the only thing they really could do - wait.

        "This is an enigma to us," said Director Ken Dodd, of the Manatee sheriff's office. Dodd wasn't just an observer. His family also evacuated Sunday morning. They went to Sarasota. He came to work.

        Lee Whitehurst, a deputy chief at the Braden River fire station less than a mile from the worst flooding, has watched these waters swell in the past.

        "Those of us who have been here 15 or 20 years, we've seen this three or four times," Whitehurst said. "But there's been a lot of growth (since last time). It's affecting a lot more people."

        More than 230 of them ended up at two Red Cross shelters on Sunday. They ate, slept, sang karaoke, played cards and watched TV, hoping to hear good news or at least see their homes still above water.

        Most of them were expected to stay overnight at Braden River Middle School.

        "We're asking them to stay put," said Chief Jay Moyles, a Manatee County spokesman. "If we get more rain than what's expected, we'd rather have them safe in a shelter."

        As dusk fell Sunday, some good news trickled in.

        County officials said the lake was returning to normal depth. The dam was working properly. The river was receding, though slowly. And forecasters were predicting only an inch or two of rain would fall in the area today.

        After the recent deluge, that was a blessing.

        "Things are looking up. It could have been a lot worse," Moyles said. "But I'm knocking on wood as we speak."

        Down on Upper Manatee River Road, an unfinished two-story gray mansion sat alone in the wilderness, not far from the Rye Bridge.

        Earlier in the day, the rising waters had crept within feet of the home. It sat there deserted and empty and defenseless.

        But as the evening went on, the water stopped its forward march. And the house, along with so many people who live nearby, finally had a little room to breathe.

        - Times staff writers Molly Moorhead, Janet Zink and Joy Davis-Platt contributed to this report
        09-11 .. 343 "All Gave Some..Some Gave ALL" God Bless..R.I.P.
        IACOJ Minister of Southern Comfort
        "Purple Hydrant" Recipient (3 Times)
        BMI Investigator
        The comments, opinions, and positions expressed here are mine. They are expressed respectfully, in the spirit of safety and progress. They do not reflect the opinions or positions of my employer or my department.


        • #5
          June 24th

          SARASOTA, Fla. (AP) - With 850 homes still under voluntary
          evacuation orders in southern Sarasota County, Gov. Jeb Bush
          declared a state of emergency Tuesday for seven southwestern
          Florida counties hit with as much as 21 inches of rain in the last
          several days.
          Bush declared emergencies in Collier, Lee, Charlotte, Hardee,
          DeSoto, Sarasota and Manatee counties.
          The order warned of additional rains and possible flooding and
          gives the governor power to evacuate residents and direct resources
          and personnel to help local city and county governments.
          It said 850 families have been be asked to evacuate low-lying
          subdivisions near North Port because of the rising lower section of
          the Myakka River. Sarasota County officials could not say late
          Tuesday how many homes had actually been evacuated.
          In Charlotte County just to the south, commissioners declared a
          state of emergency there after the storms did $2 million in damage
          to seawalls in Punta Gorda Isles. County officials said rainfall
          totaled up to 21 inches over the past several days.
          Torrential rains hit southwestern Florida again Tuesday before
          tapering off.
          Meanwhile, Sarasota County officials also warned about the
          health risks of flood waters a day after a broken levy allowed the
          upper portion of the Myakka to flood an upscale development in the
          Hidden River subdivision in northeast Sarasota County.
          They warned of bacteria in the water and advised homeowners who
          draw their water from wells to purify it before they drink it in
          both Hidden River and downstream in North Port. They also advised
          homeowners not to wade in the deep flood waters.
          "Right now these homes are in the river, this is a part of the
          river system," said Sarasota Fire Rescue Chief Chuck Johnston.
          As many as 40 of the 60 homes in Hidden River were flooded in
          the levy break. Because it is a rural area with plenty of
          livestock, health officials were concerned about bacteria levels in
          the water.
          Residents upstream began focusing on the damage Tuesday.
          Officials were in the process of putting a dollar figure to the
          destruction, but had no early estimates.
          "We'll have to start all over again," said resident Kester Van
          Fleet, who left with her husband, children, pictures and other
          family mementos as seven feet of water filled their $405,000 home.
          "But the main thing is, it's all just possessions. Everyone is
          In Manatee County, disaster assessment teams were finding little
          damage near Lake Manatee, where heavy rains threatened to cause a
          dam to overflow on Sunday.
          Manatee Emergency Management Director Larry Leinhauser said only
          three homeowners called to report damage, far less than had been
          expected when 500 homes were evacuated in the area.
          "We have been delightfully unbusy, if you will," Leinhauser
          said. "Most people will handle it through their private insurance
          and most people were prepared because they knew the area."
          Most of the homes built near the Manatee River and dam are built
          on stilts because of frequent floods in that area.
          On Sunday, a malfunctioning flood gate on Lake Manatee, one of
          three on the reservoir, caused water to stream into the 2,400-acre
          lake faster than it could be released.

          (Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
          Proudly serving as the IACOJ Minister of Information & Propoganda!
          Be Safe! Lookouts-Awareness-Communications-Escape Routes-Safety Zones

          *Gathering Crust Since 1968*
          On the web at www.section2wildfire.com


          • #6

            And the rains came ... and came

            Extensive flooding reported throughout region

            Following days of torrential rain, floods swept Southwest Florida this weekend, snarling roads, triggering accidents, threatening homes, forcing evacuations and making life miserable for the region's inhabitants.

            Saturated ground left rainwater with nowhere to go, and the National Weather Service predicted no let-up before Tuesday at the earliest.

            "If I had to gauge where we are right now from the radar, we've got problems," Wayne Sallade, Charlotte County's emergency manager, said Sunday afternoon. "We've got rain coming from Cape Haze across the harbor, so we're not out of the woods yet."

            Sallade sweated out a 1.5-foot high tide at 11:09 a.m. Sunday. "When the tide's up, the water can't drain," he explained. "Then the tide released and we started to see drainage."

            The next high tide, 1.3 feet, was due at 10:49 p.m. Sunday, followed by 1.65 feet at 11:32 a.m. today and 1.2 feet at 12:35 a.m. Tuesday.

            According to WINK-TV meteorologist Scott Zedeker, as of early evening Sunday, a total of 9.1 inches of rain over the weekend was recorded in Punta Gorda, 9.5 inches in Englewood and 7.1 inches in North Port. Port Charlotte received the brunt of the downpour, with 11.8 inches.

            The Charlotte County Sheriff's Office said numerous major streets, roads and intersections were impassable on Sunday afternoon.

            A fleet of North Port emergency management vehicles were on standby at the fire station near the George Mullen Center. In addition, nearly a dozen of the city's road and drainage employees were called in to set up barricades in North Port Estates, Biscayne Boulevard and other areas.

            In DeSoto County, Horse Creek and the Peace River were flooding. At 4 p.m. Sunday, Horse Creek was at 16.67 feet, more than 4 feet over its flood stage of 12 feet.

            Rising waters had isolated about 70 homes near the creek, and Catherine Furr, the county's emergency manager, said her office was "partially activated" and monitoring the situation. An emergency shelter at Pine Creek Chapel was on standby, but no requests for emergency housing had been received as of Sunday afternoon, Furr said.

            The National Weather Service predicted Horse Creek would crest at 17.5 feet tonight, a level not seen since 1992. The Peace River, six inches over flood stage at 11.5 feet, wasn't predicted to crest before Wednesday at 14.7 feet, but additional rain could accelerate the crest.

            "People are encouraged not to drive unless it's absolutely necessary," Furr said. "It's a good day to stay home and read a good book, if you have that opportunity."

            Emergency managers in DeSoto, Charlotte, Lee, Hardee and Sarasota counties conferred by conference call Sunday morning. Hardee County reported $1.3 million worth of damage to public infrastructure alone, Sallade said.

            The region's worst threat was in Manatee County, where a stuck floodgate at Manatee Lake Dam forced the evacuation of 500 to 600 homes downstream on the Manatee River. Officials managed to manually open one floodgate Sunday afternoon, reducing -- but not eliminating -- the risk.

            Authorities were hoping that retention dams holding back clay settling ponds in Hardee and DeSoto county phosphate mines would hold, despite the monsoon. Sallade recalled the catastrophic dam failure of 1971 that released millions of gallons of silt into the Peace River. "If one of those things lets loose, you don't want to see it," he said.

            Rick Davis, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Ruskin, said the near-biblical-caliber rains were unusual because they came without a major tropical storm.

            "Early in the week, a tropical wave moved northward from the Caribbean to the Yucatan Peninsula (in Mexico). It weakened and stalled out in the central Gulf of Mexico," Davis explained. "At the same time, a series of upper-level disturbances, which create instability, moved from the gulf over the state, all of which funneled moisture right over Southwest and West Central Florida."

            The system was part of a low-pressure trough extending down the East Coast from Maine to Florida, Davis said, bringing flooding to Louisiana, Arkansas, the Ohio River Valley and many other places.

            Numerous showers and thunderstorms were predicted for 24 hours until the system begins moving south on Tuesday. Then the weather will revert to the region's "typical" summer pattern, with daytime highs in the low 90s, nighttime lows in the mid-70s and humidity around 60 percent.

            "Hot and sticky" was how Davis described it, but it will probably seem like a relief to know the chance of rain chance will drop to about 40 percent, with isolated afternoon thunderstorms.

            The situation wasn't without its lighter side, however. A nude swimmer was reported cavorting in a drainage ditch Sunday afternoon near Sally Jones Elementary in Port Charlotte. And Hans Haefner, a Burnt Store Isles resident, reported black catfish swimming in the front yard of his home on San Rocco Drive.

            "At this point, it's just a matter of watching the rain fall and seeing how deep and how wide it gets," Furr said.

            Staff writer Elaine Allen-Emrich contributed to this story.

            You can e-mail Malcolm Brenner at [email protected]

            By MALCOLM BRENNER

            Staff Writer
            09-11 .. 343 "All Gave Some..Some Gave ALL" God Bless..R.I.P.
            IACOJ Minister of Southern Comfort
            "Purple Hydrant" Recipient (3 Times)
            BMI Investigator
            The comments, opinions, and positions expressed here are mine. They are expressed respectfully, in the spirit of safety and progress. They do not reflect the opinions or positions of my employer or my department.


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