Anclote flood stages reported by flood-damaged gauge

Residents are upset about not getting sufficient warning of imminent flloding.

"It’s very upsetting because these are the people who are supposed to be worried about public safety," said Jacci Smith.

For days leading up to the Anclote River flooding on Saturday Jacci Smith knew something was not right about the warnings coming from Pasco County.

"They had an opportunity to provide us with public safety two days prior and they didn’t," said Smith.

"The forecast said that it was going to go into flood stage so we were putting that information out there on Thursday," said Kevin Guthrie, Pasco Emergency Services Director.

But the Thursday warning was putting the Anclote at a little more than 20 feet.

"It was quite obvious that the river was well over 24 feet because it was almost in my house," said Smith.

It wasn’t until Saturday morning that the county realized the gauge that provides river levels was malfunctioning.

"As soon as we saw what happened, we immediately contacted Hillsborough Fire Rescue for a swift water team," said Guthrie.

The county says it sent robocalls out to the Elfers community warning the river was rising faster.

"Extremely grateful right now because we called 911 around 9:30 and they said there was no evacuation at that time," said Jasmine Rivera.

Michael Cassagnole says an earlier warning would have helped their evacuation.

"Last year when we had the two-day notice we were able to evacuate in time before water started getting inside the house," said Michael Cassagnole.

"It wasn’t like we were depending on nothing but the river gauge; we went out there, we took a picture of it, it was under an acceptable level and the next day it got to 25.1 feet," said Guthrie.

The county says another lesson learned after a storm.

"Should we check that gauge every x number of hours? Yes, we’re going to do that," Guthrie said.

U.S. Geological Survey did get back with 10News WTSP and said the gauge was damaged by a tree or some sort of debris that snapped the line connecting the gauge.


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