Another evening of severe thunderstorms in the Tampa Bay area Thursday has created a sinkhole in a Dade City road and flooding in Pasco and Hernando counties that closed other roads and led to home evacuations. Forecasters predict more severe weather this afternoon and throughout the weekend in the Tampa Bay area. There is a 50 percent to 60 percent chance of rain today, likely beginning in mid-afternoon. The weather pattern of scattered strong storms has repeated itself most of this week, leaving the ground saturated in parts of the region and making flooding a possible hazard today. A flood watch is in effect in Pasco and Hernando this morning. Overnight fog has formed in Hillsborough County, affecting early morning commutes.
The sinkhole on Jessamine Road was 30 feet deep and 30 feet wide on Thursday night, but no nearby homes have been impacted, said Melanie Snow, a sheriff's office spokeswoman. Jessamine Road is closed from St. Joe Road to James Loop Road, Snow said. Only local traffic is allowed in the area, she said. The sheriff's office learned of the sinkhole at around 6 p.m. when a severe thunderstorm was hitting the area. Flooding from the storm has caused some road closures in Dade City and Wesley Chapel. Several agencies in Hernando worked together to evacuate people from flooded homes and areas deemed unsafe, the Hernando County Sheriff's Office said. Staff placed barricades to discourage drivers from entering roads too flooded to pass and cleared debris left by the storm. A shelter was opened at First United Methodist Church, 109 S. Broad St., Brooksville, to help people affected by the flooding. A handful of families took advantage overnight. Hernando deputies asked residents Thursday night not to drive on local roads if possible because of extensive flooding throughout the county. One person tweeted a photo of a Brooksville parking lot that was so flooded the water covered most of a car in the lot. Another photo showed a shed floating down a flooded street in Brooksville. About 5 inches of rain has been measured in Pasco and Hernando since Thursday morning, according to News Channel 8 meteorologist Leigh Spann.