BROOKSVILLE - Between three and six inches of rain fell over Hernando County on Thursday afternoon and evening, resulting in extreme flooding in low lying areas that enveloped cars, homes, sent sheds across Broad Street, and made a disaster relief shelter out of First United Methodist Church in Brooksville.
Weather reports issued Friday anticipate flooding to be as bad or worse than Thursday's rain with heavily saturated ground, and another severe weather warning with flooding is in effect from 2 p.m. until late afternoon.
A 10-day forecast shows scattered thunderstorms are to continue for Hernando and Pasco counties until next Thursday.
"This is the only shelter open in the county, I can tell you that," Sgt. Tim Bammert said Thursday night at United Methodist Church's Youth Center. "As things go on throughout the night, it just multiplies. It just happens. You don't want to sit in the house with no air and no power."
American Red Cross Disaster Relief delivered pizza, locally made meals, coffee, bottled water, soda, and cots Thursday to the displaced, which at that time amounted to a little less than a dozen residents. The majority were said to be from Camper's Holiday off Culbreath Road, and other low-lying areas in southern and eastern parts of the county were said to be inaccessible except by boat.
Sheriff Al Nienhuis has requested and received four auxiliary and three reserve deputies to assist those already assigned to storm-related calls, and have been busy to say the least.
Brooksville Police Department, Brooksville Fire Department, Hernando County Fire Rescue, and Hernando County Department of Public Works have also been working to clear highways obstructed by the storm.
All reports of flooded roadways were addressed with manpower or barricades, and all reports of flooded homes or neighborhoods were addressed with law enforcement presence, according to the sheriff's office, including the dozen or so residents at the shelter Thursday.
The sheriff's office has vans on standby if any additional evacuations are needed, and efforts continue to clear all debris from roadways, including fallen wires and trees. The sheriff's office is also working to arrange a damage assessment team to survey damages in the county, and encourage residents to report damage to the Emergency Operations Center at (352) 754-4083.
Sandbags are available at the Brooksville Fire Department at 85 Veterans Ave. in Brooksville after 9:30 a.m. for those that may need them, with a maximum of 50 bags per family.
Several roads are still currently closed: Horse Lake Road in the area of Barnett and Wiscon, Rackley Road in area of 2337, Culbreath Road at the Pasco County line, the east end of Saturn Road, Clinton Road and Providence Boulevard, and Daffodil Drive and Whisper Lane.
Fort Dade Avenue and Cobb east of the intersection is reported as having a possible washout or sinkhole, and is also to be avoided.