Warning Of Water Dangers Amid River Flood Watches
The National Weather Service, as well as rain-weary residents, continue to keep a cautious eye on numerous rivers around West Central Florida.
With more thunderstorms possible the rest of the week, officials are closely monitoring the Alafia River and the Little Manatee River in Hillsborough County and Cypress Creek and the Withlacoochee River in Pasco County.
As flood watches and warnings continue, Florida's Surgeon General Dr. John Armstrong is reminding people to avoid wading in flood waters. He cautions that the water can sweep you away even if it looks calm, and what's in it could make you sick.
"Flood waters can be like a soup, and you're never quite sure what's in that soup, to include bacteria, and that can pose health threats,” Armstrong said. “We do have a variety of critters who can be in the water, and those can pose health threats as well."
At last measurement Tuesday morning, the Alafia at Lithia was at 14.1 feet. Flood stage is at 13 feet, but the river is projected to continue decreasing.
The Little Manatee River at Wimauma was just a shade over flood stage at 11.02 feet. It's expected to crest around 12.9 feet sometime Wednesday afternoon.
Cypress Creek at Worthington Gardens was measured at 8.9 feet. Flood stage is at 9 feet and the creek is expected to crest around 9.3 feet Thursday afternoon.
The Withlacoochee at Trilby was at 12.6 feet. Flood stage is at 12 feet. The river is projected to stay above flood stage through at least the weekend.
Officials are also watching the Hillsborough River at Morris Bridge and further northeast near Zephyrhills. It's at 31.3 feet at Morris Bridge, where flood stage is at 32 feet. The Hillsborough is also at 8.6 feet near Zephyrhills. It crested just above flood stage of 10 feet early Monday morning.
The Peace River at Bartow in Polk County briefly crested above flood stage of 8 feet early Tuesday morning. It's currently at 7.94 feet and is declining.
Other rivers that are at or above flood stage include the Myakka River at Myakka River State Park in Sarasota County, the Peace River at Zolfo Springs in Hardee County, and the Peace River and Horse Creek, both at Arcadia in Desoto County.
Bay News 9 forecasts rain chances of 60 percent Tuesday and Wednesday, 50 percent Thursday through Saturday and 40 percent Sunday and Monday.