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Rain's Coming, But Schools Are Open Monday

Florida Public Radio Emergency Network

Though a flood watch is underway for the Tampa Bay area, public school districts from Pinellas to Hillsborough to Polk have announced they will be open as normal on Monday.

Friday’s concerns that Tropical Storm Erika would strike the Tampa Bay area dissipated over the weekend, and families in the three districts were notified that students, teachers and other employees should report to class and work as normal.

“School district safety managers met regularly with the Pinellas County Emergency Operations Center through the weekend to stay comprised of potential weather conditions,’’ said an automated message that went out to Pinellas County public school families Sunday afternoon.

Polk County’s advisory reminded families that the advisory applies only to the public schools. Parents with children at private or charter programs should check with their school in case they are opting to close.

The University of South Florida announced Friday that classes would continue as scheduled on Monday provided the storm did not strengthen. As of Sunday, they had provided no further updates.

Bay News 9 Meteorologist Josh Linker said a flood watch, the result of the remnants of Erika, is in effect through Monday in Hernando, Pasco, Pinellas, Hillsborough, Polk and Manatee counties.

The showers may bring between two to four inches of rain over the next two days, though some areas could see more. And flooding is definitely expected in areas already saturated from a rainy summer, Linker said.

Linker said Tampa has seen 27.48 inches in July and August. That total is second only to 1960, when 28.31 inches fell during the same two-month period.

The National Weather Service in Tampa already has issued a flood warning for the Withlacoochee River at Holder for Thursday. At 10 a.m. Sunday, the river was reported at 5 feet. Flood stage is 8 feet.

The river is forecast to rise above flood stage by late Thursday morning and may rise to near 8.6 feet by Friday early afternoon, the weather service reported.

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