NEW PORT RICHEY, Fla.- Flood waters are continuing to drain in Pasco County, enough for the county to rescind its evacuation order that impacted 7,000 addresses. 2,000 people evacuated according to the American Red Cross.
This morning, the National Weather Service's hydrographs put the Anclote River at Elfers at 22.86 feet (5:15 a.m. update). The flood stage is 20 feet and peaked at 26.74 feet on Tuesday morning, one foot below the record high.
At 6:15 a.m., the water levels dropped to 22.79 feet.
The floods are down enough to allow people to drive through some areas and get people back into their homes.
This morning, we saw one man retrieve a few of his belongings from his mobile home in the area of Celtic Drive and Elfers Parkway, in Anclote River Estates. He says his home appears to be dry, high enough to avoid the flood waters.
All day Wednesday, the sun was shining over Pasco County. As flood waters continue draining, residents like Nick Bruno are sweeping up the mess.
"It's gone down pretty fast in the last day. We're able to get the cars out and drive safely," said Bruno.
Those cars now share neighborhood streets with fresh water fish, turtles, and even eels. "They're in the water here, about a foot and a half, two feet long," Bruno points out in the street in front of his home.
Only a small amount of water got into his home, forcing the removal of carpet in a single bedroom. Further south, though, entire neighborhoods remain flooded.
Pasco County's main emergency shelter still housed about 40 evacuees on Wednesday night, all eager to get home. "I've been here since Friday and I don't know when I'll get to go home because the street is still flooded," said wheelchair-bound James Smith.
It could be several more days before residents living along the Anclote River can return. Many of their homes are still under feet of water or are only accessible by boat.
It was in the Anclote River Estates neighborhood where Tropical Storm Debby is blamed on claiming another life. The body of a middle-aged man was found floating in the flood waters Wednesday. It's still unclear how he died, but as of now officials are classifying the death as possibly storm related.