The Southwest Florida Management District is activating the Tampa Bypass Canal System to prevent local flooding.
The decision to activate was a direct response to the heavy rains caused by Hurricane Hermine, which made landfall last week, hitting some areas with well more than a foot of rain.
The Hillsborough River will be closed to boaters tonight (Tuesday) starting at 8 p.m. The river reached an elevation of 25 feet above sea level, which triggered the Army Corps of Engineers activation.
The canal system, which was constructed in response to massive flooding caused by Hurricane Donna in 1960, will redirect the entire flow of the river away from Temple Terrace and Tampa. The waters will be diverted to McKay Bay.
Since the storm, Pasco County officials estimate that 90 percent of the damage throughout the county appears to be due to flood waters.
Two other area rivers, the Anclote and the Alafia also are experiencing flooding.On Sunday, the Anclote crested at approximately 25.08 feet. On Tuesday afternoon it was at 21.3 feet, which is defined as a “moderate flood stage.” The river is expected to stay in minor flood stage until Thursday.
The National Weather Service issued a flood warning for the Alafia River at Lithia until Thursday evening. At 9 a.m. Tuesday morning, the flood level was at 15.4 feet. The Alafia is expected to also fall below flood stage by Thursday afternoon.