Shelter opened for Withlacoochee River evacuees

- An evacuation shelter has been designated by Hernando County Emergency Management for evacuees from flooding of the Withlacoochee River. 

The Enrichment Center, located at 800 John Gary Grubbs Blvd. in Brooksville, is now open for Withlacoochee River evacuees.

The Withlacoochee River reached major flood stage at the Trilby gauge and was at 17.55 feet Tuesday evening.

Laura Bruce lives in one of nearly 2,000 homes in danger of flooding when the Withlacoochee River crest at 17.7 feet Wednesday.

Bruce's backyard on Cedley Road in Tribly, just north of Dade City, looked more like a swimming pool on Tuesday. She said her yard was not flooded after Hurricane Irma left the area last week.

“There was very little water in the yard. It was just the lower section, and each day it kept coming up and coming up," said Bruce.

Eventually, her hot tub was underwater, along with her storage shed.

A voluntary evacuation order remains in effect for 4,000 people living in about 1,900 homes along the river from Pasco to Hernando County.

It could take two days for the river to recede.

Hernando County officials also warn water wells and septic systems could become contaminated. Water testing should occur after the water recedes. Infrastructure damages and power outages should also be expected.

Hernando is a disaster-designated Florida county. Residents must register with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for disaster assistance - even if you have insurance. Go to www.fema.gov/news-release/2017/09/16/4337/what-expect-when-you-register-fema-disaster-assistance for more information.

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