Caution is advised as Florida cleans up after Hermine
By: Jim Williams – News Talk Florida
TAMPA – Hurricane Hermine has claimed at least one life in Florida after making landfall in the Big Bend area early Friday morning, packing heavy rainfall and damaging winds.
Marion County emergency officials confirmed to weather.com that a male of undetermined age was killed by a downed tree that fell onto a tent in a homeless camp in Ocala around early Friday morning.
Hermine, which has since weakened to tropical storm status, caused severe damage along the coast of Taylor County, Florida, according to the Perry Police Department.
Friday Gov. Rick Scott took a Blackhawk helicopter to visit the towns of Cedar Key and Steinhatchee on the Gulf Coast and saw firsthand the damage left from flood and storm surge, the Associated Press reports. Among the damages were crumpled docks and washed out homes and businesses.
In a press conference held Friday morning, Scott said that about 253,000 customers had lost power after the storm made landfall. Other areas of the state received heavy rains which led to flooding and the rescue of at least 18 people from rising waters in Pasco County.
Early Friday morning, Pasco County Fire Rescue and sheriff’s deputies used high-water vehicles to rescue 18 people from rising water at their homes in Green Key and Hudson Beach, the AP reported. They were taken to a nearby shelter.
On Wednesday night, more than 200 patients, including a dozen who were critically ill, were evacuated from a Pasco County hospital after lightning destroyed one generator, knocked out power and sparked a small fire.
Hospital officials told the AP that a lightning strike is believed to have hit a main power feed on the roof of the Regional Medical Center Bayonet Point in Hudson around 6:15 p.m Wednesday. No one was injured and all patients were safely evacuated to other area medical facilities.
The Sunshine Skyway Bridge over Tampa Bay was reopened Friday after being shut down by high winds from Hermine.
According to a release from the Florida Highway Patrol, the bridge was reopened around 3:50 p.m. Friday afternoon after being closed down at 1 p.m. Thursday.
Emergency crews rescued a woman and her two dogs from her daughter’s home in South St. Petersburg, where rising water from Lake Maggiore flooded streets, WFLA.com reported.
A couple in Largo needed rescue Thursday morning after their vehicle became immersed in floodwaters.
“The husband was already out, but the wife, it was an old couple and the wife was still stuck in there,” Alexis Edwards, who witnessed the rescue, told the AP. “They were trying to help her out and as they were helping her, the car was just sinking like really fast,” she said.
Conditions from Hermine damaged a carport in the Spear Mobile Home Park in Plant City and downed a tree on Stanley and Thonotosassa roads Thursday, according to the National Weather Service.
The City of Tampa closed Bayshore Boulevard was re-opened late Friday afternoon. Around the rest of the city water continues to recede but caution remains the key word as people access the damage in their own neighborhoods.
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