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Florida Takes Cover in Preparation for Tropical Storm Henri

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  • Florida Takes Cover in Preparation for Tropical Storm Henri

    Florida's Nature Coast is bracing for Tropical Storm Henri which at this writing is about 80 miles west of the Tampa Bay area heading North/Northeast at a very slow pace. Although the storm is not predicted to strengthen, it is projected to drop heavy rains in the already soaked counties of Citrus, Hernando and Pasco. Some forcasts indicate up to 20" of rain may be possible in some areas.

    Slow storm could drop foot of rain

    By Sean Mussenden | Sentinel Staff Writer
    Posted September 5, 2003

    ROSEWOOD -- A slow-moving tropical depression lurched toward the state's west coast early today, threatening to dump up to 15 inches of rain on already-waterlogged North and Central Florida.

    Forecasters, expecting the system to become Tropical Storm Henri before it comes ashore, issued storm warnings from Englewood south of Sarasota to the Aucilla River in the Panhandle. Much of the state, including Central Florida, was under a flood watch.

    "We're going to have some damage from this system -- from the flooding," said Max Mayfield, director of the National Hurricane Center in Miami. "I can guarantee that."

    Late Thursday, the system was moving at just 7 mph toward Homosassa Springs, about an hour north of Tampa. Its maximum sustained winds were 35 mph, but they were expected to increase to 50 mph by the time it makes landfall late tonight or early Saturday.

    "It's not a well-formed system at this point, but we're seeing a lot of rain on the eastern half of the storm's center of circulation," said Frank Alsheimer, a forecaster with the National Weather Service in Tampa. "Unfortunately, we're also on the eastern half of the center circulation, so that's why we're expecting such a heavy rain."

    Late Thursday, the National Hurricane Center said the storm system was becoming better organized and that rainfall associated with it already was affecting the Gulf Coast.

    Alsheimer said the storm could bring 10 to 15 inches of rain in some parts of western Central Florida by the end of the weekend.

    That's bad news for a region that has been awash for weeks from a spate of summer storms. Rainfall in Orlando and Tampa in August was nearly double historical averages for the month.

    The surest sign of the problem: In many communities, sandbags have become common.

    Outside of Inverness, on a canal just off the Withlacoochee River, floodwater spread more than 50 feet across Ron Medlock's back yard, enveloping his dock and his wife Geneva's lattice-framed flower garden.

    "We just planted it this year -- it's gone," he lamented.

    The water had crept into his old house next door but had not reached the more elevated cracker-style one he built last year.

    Fifteen inches of rain, he said, would completely cover his yard and send water spilling into the street.

    "What can you do?" he asked. "God's going to do what he's going to do. You just have to live with it."

    Others in his neighborhood were not so lucky. The floodwaters had shut down their septic systems and left other homes accessible only by canoe -- or not at all.

    In Rosewood, a community of mostly mobile homes at the southern end of Florida's marshy Big Bend in Levy County, water spilled over dirt roads, forcing some residents to access their homes in rickety steel skiffs.

    Paula Kennedy, Levy County's emergency management director, said they've been trying to patch up Rosewood's flood-prone roads, but more work remains to be done.

    In the Orlando area, Orange County residents repeated their weeks of pleading for help, saying that if a severe storm hit, their houses would flood.

    "Two of our outside buildings are flooded where we keep our lawn equipment and Christmas stuff," said Louise Branom, 66, who lives on Lake Hickory Nut in the southwest part of the county.

    "In one, the water is knee-deep and the other is ankle-deep."

    Branom said the water is 5 feet from her porch.

    In Orange, at least two people have left their homes in the past three weeks because of encroaching water, officials say. Several lakes in southwest Orange are already at high levels, and pumps have been installed to divert the water.

    Orange has prepared 15,000 sandbags, stationed special firetrucks near flood-prone areas and identified three undisclosed sites for shelters should evacuations be necessary. Orlando is dropping lake levels 6 inches, where possible, by opening lake plugs that drain underground, a city spokeswoman said.

    If needed, the shelters would be accessible to affected residents in Lake, Polk, Osceola and Orange counties.

    "This would be a voluntary evacuation on the part of the resident," said Renzy Hanshaw, Orange County's emergency manager. "We don't intend to order anyone out of their home."

    In Deltona, Kenny Jackson got his pump ready in anticipation of the heavy rains. He estimates he has spent about $4,000 this year to keep his home from being flooded by nearby Lake Dupont.

    His back fence is under water and a 4-foot-high dike he built out of dirt months ago still surrounds his home on Kumpula Drive.

    "We're not taking it down until the end of hurricane season," Jackson said.

    In Osceola County, crews were filling sandbags and making sure all of the county's ditches were clear, to allow for the most water to drain.

    More crews were on call through the night, in case the water reached any homes, and other workers were assigned to monitor roads for flooding.

    Sandbags are available at the community center on Florida Parkway in Buenaventura Lakes, the public-works building on Marigold Avenue in Poinciana and Osceola County's road and bridge offices on Hoagland Avenue in Kissimmee and Kissimmee Park Road outside of St. Cloud.

    Melissa Harris, Tania deLuzuriaga and April Hunt of the Sentinel staff contributed to this report. Wire services also were used. Sean Mussenden can be reached at 407-650-6361 or [email protected].
    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
    The Storm Comes and Goes!

    Bay News 9

    Hernando County assessing Henri's aftermathSaturday, September 6th

    Many area streets are waterlogged.

    Hernando County damage assessment teams have been out surveying the aftermath of Tropical Storm Henri, which impacted the county at about 4 a.m. today.

    The Hernando County Airport reported 6 inches of rainfall in one hour. Gusty winds and lightning activity were reported in certain areas.

    In addition to the roads that were closed Friday, the following roads have been closed this morning due to flooding or have high water and may be closed shortly: Wiscon Road near U.S. 41, Spring Hill Drive and U.S. 41, Powell Road and U.S. 41, and north of the Spring Hill Drive/Mariner Drive intersection in the vicinity of Madeira Street.

    Caution should be used in proceeding through standing water on roads. Several traffic signals are not functioning properly, and some are not operating at all.

    There were some power outages reported this morning as well.
    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
      The eye of the storm passes through Central Florida

      Bay News 9

      Tropical Depression Henri packs little punchSaturday, September 6th

      Tropical Depression Henri has moved across the Bay area and is now south of Orlando.

      Its effects on the Bay area have been minimal, however, some of the outer bands produced strong winds and flooding rains. Minor coastal flooding is still possible throughout the day along Bay area beaches.

      There is a 60 percent rain chance in the Bay area today, with moderate showers and breezy conditions likely.

      No flooding or storm damage was reported in Pinellas County on Friday and rainfall totals were significantly lower than initial estimates. Storm preparation
      Click here to get more information on preparing for a hurricane.
      Download your tracking map here.

      The Emergency Operations Center and the Citizen Information Center are closed and no longer taking calls. Residents are urged to take precautions while driving on wet roadways and traveling through standing water.

      A flood watch is in effect for the entire Bay area until 5 p.m. today. For the latest weather information, make sure to watch Weather on the nines.
      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
        NEWS CHANNEL 8

        NEW CHANNEL 8

        Henri Drenches Coast
        By ROB SHAW [email protected]
        Published: Sep 7, 2003

        TAMPA - Tropical Storm Henri turned out to be not so ornery after all.
        The eighth named storm of the hurricane season swirled to life early Friday in the Gulf of Mexico, threatening to dump as much as 10 to 20 inches of rain in some places.

        But by Friday evening, as the minimal storm with 50 mph winds prepared to move onshore near Cedar Key in Levy County, fears of monsoonlike rains did not materialize in the Tampa Bay area, though areas to the south experienced heavy rains.

        High school football games were canceled in some counties. The lieutenant governor abandoned plans to visit three schools on the west coast. And some college classes were called off.

        But emergency management officials in Hillsborough, Pinellas and Pasco counties had no flooding or storm-related damage to report.

        ``It's kind of scary, actually,'' Dennis LeMonde, spokesman for Hillsborough emergency management, said of how quiet things were Friday evening.

        At 11 p.m. Friday, the center of Tropical Storm Henri was near latitude 27.9 north and longitude 83.8 west or about 70 miles west of St. Petersburg.

        At Clearwater Beach, where two trucks from The Weather Channel had been parked since Thursday to monitor the storm, Pier 60 manager Frank Riotto watched unimpressed as light winds and light rain were on the weather menu most of the day.

        ``We came prepared for the worst, but it hasn't happened,'' Riotto said.

        The heaviest rainfall was reported south of the Tampa Bay area in places such as Venice, where 4 to 6 inches of rain pounded the area.

        ``Six inches of rain in one day is not a good thing,'' said Frank Alsheimer, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Ruskin. ``With our saturated conditions, it's even worse than normal. We are forecasting flooding for all the major rivers in the area.''

        In Sarasota County, public works crews barricaded flooded roads Friday, but not before some motorists became trapped in flash flooding as more than 8 inches of rain fell in some areas of the region since Thursday.

        More than 5 inches of rain fell in a one-hour span in North Port in Sarasota County, flooding streets, city officials said.

        In Pasco County, even a sprinkle was bad news for residents of flood-weary places in Hudson. Michele Baker, the county's emergency management director, said workers would continue to use pumps to help relieve the high water.

        In addition, though Baker was not recommending evacuations, the Red Cross opened an emergency shelter at First Presbyterian Church in Port Richey.

        On Upham Beach in St. Pete Beach, people weren't seeking shelter from the storm. Dozens of surfers showed up but came away mostly unimpressed with the 2- to 3-foot crests.

        ``They're kind of halfway decent waves, but when the storm gets closer they'll probably get a little bit bigger,'' said Zane Burke, a 36-year-old St. Petersburg antique salesman.

        Rob Hyypio, a motel manager who left work early to surf, was equally nonplussed.

        ``There's waves,'' Hyypio said. ``That's more than we get on the Gulf on most days. You take what you can get.''

        There were no waves, but there was plenty of water on the Withlacoochee River in Citrus County. It was above flood stage at four measuring points by midday Friday, said Dick Kamp, also of the weather service in Ruskin.

        Holder at State Road 200 on the Citrus-Marion county line was 1.52 feet above flood level, and Trilby in east Pasco had climbed 1.2 feet above flood level. Dunnellon at U.S. 41 on the Citrus-Marion line and Croom at Highway 50 in east Hernando were above flood stage.

        The Withlacoochee will not crest until the middle or last part of next week. Other rivers, such as the Little Manatee and Alafia, should reach their peaks this weekend.

        In Polk County, workers installed a pump Friday to remove water from Hobson Road and keep water out of a church at the south end of Lake Clinch in Frostproof, said David Cash, director of emergency management.

        Henri never took on a classic circular shape like Hurricane Fabian, which was pounding Bermuda with 120-mph winds at the same time Henri stalked Florida's coast.

        ``I would not want to be in Bermuda right now,'' said Gary Vickers, director of Pinellas emergency management.

        Tampa residents may pick up sandbags at the Wastewater Department at 2609 N. Rome Ave. from 8:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. today, with a limit of 25 bags per home.

        For information on sandbags call the Wastewater Department at (813) 259-1693.

        Reports of downed trees or debris on streets go to the Department of Public Works at (813) 622-1940. Reports of flooding should go to the Stormwater Operations Division at (813) 622-1901.

        Information from the Sarasota Herald-Tribune was used in this report. Reporters Geoff Fox, Bill Heery, Dave Nicholson, Stephen Thompson and Jim Tunstall contributed to this report. Reporter Rob Shaw can be reached at (813) 249-2545.
        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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