Officials Say “Evacuate Now” as the Withlacoochee River Continues to Rise, Shelter Opens for Evacuees
RIDGE MANOR – The Withlacoochee River continues to rise and officials say it’s time for all residents to evacuate. Emergency Management Director, Cecilia Patella, announced the evacuation measure today and says the river could rise another two feet by Monday. Homes in Talisman Estates, Riverdale, Istachatta, and Nobleton are already flooded, and Patella says, “for the safety of residents and first responders, you should move away from the area.”
We spoke to several residents in Ridge Manor who live along the Withlachoochee River and most say this is the worst flooding they’ve ever seen. Tina Bryan has lived along the river for 56 years and says, “I’ve never seen the water rise this quickly and this high.” This is the first time Bryan’s 78-year-old father has actually been scared, says Bryan, but that she’s afraid he won’t leave his home, despite the flood waters.
We spoke to Stella Justice who lives on the now-flooded Cyril Drive and she says, “When I left for work this morning the water had already covered my deck.” Justice was concerned for her mentally disabled sister who could no longer be reached by a vehicle, and was concerned that waters may have already breached her residence.Another man told us his house was on high ground but that he still had to ford flooded roadways to reach his home. He wasn’t sure if that would be possible if waters continue to rise.
A shelter is now open at the Enrichment Center located at 800 John Gary Grubbs Blvd in Brooksville.
Experts say the Green Swamp located in Polk County is to blame for rise of the Withlacoochee River, which is an unusual because the Withlacoochee River is one of only two rivers in Florida that flow north. The St. Johns River in Jacksonville also flows north, along with about 50 other rivers nationwide.
We will continue to update this story with new information regarding the Withlachoochee River Flood, as it develops.
This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. ™2013 – 2017 RNRF Incorporated.