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Friday, May 25, 2018
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Flood watch through tonight as deluge continues

More waves of rain will roll through the Tampa Bay area today, and a flood watch remains in effect until 8 p.m., while the recent rainfall taxes municipal wastewater systems along the Gulf coast.

Some of today's storms could be heavy and may be accompanied by gusts.

The forecast calls for a 70 percent chance of rain, although the Bay area could get a break in some spots toward the evening rush hour, said News Channel 8 meteorologist Leigh Spann.

After receiving 5 inches of rain in some locales this week, Spann said another 3 inches could fall today.

The city of Sarasota is taking some special measures to handle the heavy runoff, where some of the water has flowed out of manhole covers and onto streets.

Crews are relieving pressure on the system by pumping water from the sewers into trucks, which then take the water to a treatment plant, the city said.

“We're better off this morning than we were yesterday,” said Utilities Director Mitt Tidwell. “Our flow rate dropped approximately 2 million gallons, from 27 yesterday to 25 million this morning. ... But, we're still running at five times the normal flow rate.”

The city's typical wastewater flow rate is 5 million to 6 million gallons per day, according to the city.

Once the storm passes, the streets that had sewer overflows will be sanitized, officials said.

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection said at least 20 other utilities from Sarasota to Lee County reported overflows.

In Tampa, Lowry Park Zoo has closed for the second day in a row because of the rain.

The Florida Highway Patrol said Wednesday that two highways that run through Myakka City in Manatee County are closed because of high water over the roadways.

Pasco officials report the county has received from 3 to 6 inches of rain across the county and an additional 1 to 3 inches is expected.

There are barricades on Tammy Lane in Holiday due to the road getting soft from all the rain. The road remains passable, the county said, but the area will need to dry out for a few days before temporary repairs can be made.

Pasco officials also report water over roads in these locations:

* Buena Vista Subdivision: Bonita Road, Seven Springs Boulevard, and Pleasure, Lullaby, Orange and Kepner drives.

* Forest Hills subdivision Plum Tree and Round Tree roads.

Pasco continues to offer sandbags to residents at the Public Works Complex, 7530 State St., New Port Richey, and C- Barn, 3908 Warder Road, San Antonio. Residents must bring their own shovel and are limited to 25 sandbags per household.

Here are some of the rainfall reports as of Tuesday morning: 6.6 inches in Englewood, 5.4 inches North Fort Myers, 5 inches in Dade City, 3.7 inches in Brooksville, 3.5 inches at Sarasota Bradenton International Airport, 2.3 inches in Sun City Center, 2.7 inches in St. Petersburg, 2.5 inches in Polk City, 2.4 inches in Brandon and 1.3 inches at International Airport.

The weather service also warns that there is a risk of rip currents at the Gulf beaches through Thursday night due to strong southwest winds and higher gusts.

In Bradenton, a section of road in the 6800 block of 18th Avenue West washed out during a storm on Wednesday. There were no accidents, or injuries associated with the incident.

The region has been inundated since Monday by a tropical low-pressure system over the Gulf of Mexico that is pumping moisture along a stalled frontal boundary hanging across north Florida, the National Weather Service said.

The cold front will remain until Thursday, keeping heavy showers and thunderstorms in the forecast through Thursday. By Friday, drier air is expected to settle in the area.

Clouds continue to keep afternoon temperatures down, with highs in the mid-80s, lows in the mid-70s.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Weather Center