Zolfo Springs, Florida -- The National Weather Service in Tampa has issued a Flood Warning for the Peace River at Zolfo Springs from Wednesday evening until Saturday evening.
At 9:00 p.m. Monday, the stage was 9.1 feet. Flood stage is 16.0 feet. The river is forecast to rise above flood stage by Wednesday before midnight and continue to rise to near 16.6 feet by Thursday early afternoon. The river is expected to fall below flood stage by Saturday early afternoon.
Historically, this crest compares to a previous crest of 16.6 feet on Jan. 26, 1958. The NWS reports that Hardee County as a whole has received 1-2" in the last 30 hours although possibly higher amounts with heavier rains in the far western and southern parts of the county along the county lines.
These heavy rains will likely produce some minor flooding of low lying and poor drainage areas as well as the standing of water on roadways. Residents living in flood prone areas or along the river should be alert for any rapid rises in water level and be ready to move to higher ground should flooding be observed.
EOC status is at Level 3 (monitoring) at this time. Please use normal contacts for Emergency Management staff. We will disseminate any pertinent information as necessary.
There are no planned shelter openings at this time, nor any government or school closings.
As of Tuesday morning, there have been no road closures or problems due to the rain reported to Emergency Management.
Sandbags are available at the Hardee County Road Dept., 207 Hanchey Road, in Wauchula. You must register at the office where you will receive bags to fill.
Recommendations from the Emergency Operations Center are to have a plan and be prepared. Please refrain or limit outdoor activities including driving throughout this evening carrying into tomorrow for your safety and the safety of others.
Emergency Management Director Jill Newman asks that you be safe during this flood event. She reminds people that when a flood warning is issued, please heed official instructions.
Also, don't walk through a flooded area. Just six inches of moving water can knock you down.
She quotes other safety tips such as "don't drive through a flooded area." Just two feet of water can lift and move a car, even an SUV. Keep away from downed power lines and any other electrical wires - electrocution is often a major cause of death in floods.
To learn more about staying safe before, during and after a flood, contact her office at 863-773-6373 or visit http://floridadisaster.org for more information.
Monitor your favorite news/radio channel for the most up to date information.
Some helpful sites can be found at http://weather.gov/tampabay, http://www.nhc.noaa.gov, and http://www.wunderground.com/tropical.
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Source: Hardee County Emergency Management