Hernando dodges another bullet
By Michael D. Bates | Hernando TodayWith only days remaining in hurricane season, it appears Hernando County will dodge another major storm for 2012.
Published: November 23, 2012
Published: November 23, 2012
That's not to say the county didn't endure a tough weather event. Tropical Storm Debby, which sloshed through the area in June, left in its wake scores of sinkholes, as well as flooded roads and retention ponds, a few of which the county is still dealing with.
Rainfall amounts were much higher than 2011.
Hernando County received 53.3 inches of rain from January through October, up from 49 inches in the same period last year.
All the moisture helped the aquifer, which stands at 1.96 feet, compared to a minus 0.73 last year. The aquifer is the underground layers of rock and sand that hold water. In southwest Florida, more than 80 percent of the water supply comes from aquifers.
John McMichael, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service, in Ruskin, said there is little chance for any major weather event the rest of November.
"We're looking at some pretty benign weather for the next week or so," McMichael said.
The area has settled into the typical drier, cooler pattern, he said. The chances of rain from now through the beginning of March is much less than the spring and summer months.
"This time of year, sometimes a cold front moves through and a system develops in the Gulf," McMichael said. "But it doesn't look like it."
McMichael said the west coast of Florida is generally more susceptible to hurricanes during the beginning and end of the hurricane season. But this year, the threat wasn't there, he said.
Hernando County was one of 11 counties declared eligible for state aid from Tropical Storm Debby.
Some of the worst sinkholes opened on the Hernando County Airport taxiway, and final repair costs are estimated at $566,140.
About $495,373 of that will come from Federal Emergency Management Agency and state emergency management funds.
Airport Manager Don Silvernell estimates the completion date for repairs to be around Christmas.
For 10 days, the southbound and northbound lanes of the Suncoast Parkway just south of the U.S. 98 interchange were closed to motorists because of flooding. Motorists were forced to take detours while work crews pumped millions of gallons of water from the road.
The Peck Sink stormwater project off Wiscon Road is estimated to have sustained $150,000 in damage from the storm.
County commissioners in September approved applying for federal grant money to restore Peck Sink to its pre-storm condition.
Storm season started with a bang, when tropical storms Alberto and Beryl appeared before the official start of hurricane season, which is June 1 through Nov. 30.
The last time Florida faced any real threat from multiple hurricanes was in 2004 when all of the state was plagued by a record four storms.
Even then, Hernando County was fortunate to avoid the brunt of the impact.
Emergency Management Director Cecilia Patella said all storm-related sinkholes — with the exception of those at the airport — have been repaired. Except for some standing water in places, the flooding issues have been resolved, she added.
Even though there were no hurricanes, it would be wrong to say that residents weren't affected by the weather this season, because Tropical Storm Debby was devastating for many residents. Many lost their homes to flooding and are still dealing with issues, she said.
Locally, almost 1,500 people applied for FEMA assistance, Patella said.
"Some completely lost their homes and had to start again," Patella said. "We're grateful it wasn't worse, but we certainly have some recovery ahead of us."
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