Residents watch, wait as Alafia continues to rise

- People living along the Alafia River in Valrico are preparing for an uneasy night, with the river expected to rise about a foot above flood stage, according to the National Weather Service.

After several days of rain, the river had risen above its minor-flood level of 13 feet Sunday night. Experts believe it will rise to about 14 feet early Tuesday morning.

"It's hopefully not a predictor because we're still exhausted from Irma last year," said Ann Klingensmith, who lives off of River Drive, which is flooded. "[If] it's going to rain for the next eight, 10 days, we have no clue how high it's going to get before this is over, so we just got prepared, we moved everything as high up as we could get it for now."

Several roads, including River Drive and Squirrel Run Way, are partially or completely underwater. Homeowners have now parts of the last few days moving belongings inside or to higher ground.

Klingensmith's neighbor, Sybil Cribbs, has lived in her home for 55 years and runs a canoe business out of it.

"I don't remember it getting up flood stage in May. It could in June, July, August and September are usually the most likely," she said. "It is kind of too bad because, hey, May is a busy canoe season."

"We made it through Irma, so we'll be OK," added one homeowner whose property is already flooded and has to use a canoe to get around. "It's fine 355 days a year. It's those other 10 that it's a little inconvenience. But you live down here, you plan for it." 

A lot of people who live along the river spent months recovering from Hurricane Irma, which caused the Alafia River to rise to 23 feet.

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