Irma Wreaks Havoc on Hernando County, Downed Trees, Power Lines, Thousands without Power
HERNANDO – The aftermath of Hurricane Irma is widespread across Hernando County but Brooksville seems to have sustained the brunt of the storm. There are reports of massive flooding in low lying areas and hundreds of trees have blocked roadways and caused structure damage to several homes.
During a press conference moments ago, County Emergency Officials provided the latest information on conditions around the area.
School Superintendent, Dr. Lori Romano says Parrot Middle School and Wes Hernando Middle are without power, at this time. Romano also confirmed that all Hernando County Schools will be closed for the remainder of this week.
Captain J.R. Hutchinson warned motorists to stay off the roadways until tree limbs, debris, and power lines can be cleared. He also reminded travelers to always treat intersections without functioning signals as four way stops.
Hernando County Fire Chief, Scott Heckler says there was at a least one water rescue and his 14 stations are working around the clock to respond to numerous emergency calls. I asked Chief Heckler about a structure fire that destroyed a home on Bentley Ave around 9:50 p.m. last night. Heckler says his firefighters were called back to their stations to take cover around 9:30 p.m. but due to report of several disabled individuals still trapped inside the burning residence, they ignored the dangerous weather and responded to the call. Heckler says they had to cut through downed trees to reach the burning structure, and thankfully, all the residents had made it out safely without injury.
Emergency Management Director, Cecilia Petalla says they are trying to assess the damage and that power companies are already working to restore power as quickly as possible. At this time some sources estimate that upwards of 40% to 50% of Hernando County residents are without power.
Petella could not give an accurate estimate on when power will be restored to all residents around the county.
There is currently a boil water order notice in effect for all Brooksville residents and all residents east of I-75 unit further notice. UPDATE: 2:16 P.M. Weeki Wachee Woodlands
RNRF traveled the area and found most roadways cluttered with tree limbs and downed power lines. Capt. Rick Hankins provided a short video of an early morning tour of the flooded Cloverleaf Subdivision, where several mobile homes were damaged by up to two feet of water.
Estimated wind gusts reached over 85 mph according to officials as the eye of Hurricane Irma passed directly over Hernando County.
Officials tell RNRF that it is still too dangerous to tour the coastline until later this evening, after the threat of storm surge passes.
We will continue to bring more on this story as it develops.
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