Trouble Creek is living up to its name, forcing to evacuate the area as waters from the creek rise, spilling into the streets and flooding portions of the New Port Richey neighborhoods.
Twelve residents of Seven Springs Trailer Park were rescued by airboat early Tuesday, Pasco County Sheriff's spokesman Kevin Doll said. The entire neighborhood now appears to rise from within a newly formed lake.
Though the flooding from Tropical Storm Debby has not risen to that extent in Millpond Estates, residents who are not still in their homes are unable to return to them. Authorities are standing guard, blocking vehicles that attempt to access the portion of State Road 54 that fronts the entrance to the subdivision.
As the waters rise, authorities fear a retention ditch that backs to the property will soon overflow, Doll said.
Sheriff's deputies joined officials from the Florida Highway Patrol, Florida Fish and Wildlife, Pasco Fire Rescue, New Port Richey Police Department, Port Richey Police Department and the Department of Environmental Protection to provide assistance to residents stranded in their homes Tuesday.
Power to the neighborhood was shut off Tuesday morning but still, not all were ready to leave. Some residents were walking around the neighborhood or sitting in their driveways late Tuesday afternoon, watching the rescue operations, not appearing to be in any hurry to leave their homes.
When the sun goes down, the entire area will be in the black, and as floodwaters rise, that could mean trouble if the retention pond does overflow, Doll said.
They are being warned of the dangers, Pasco Sheriff's Office spokesman Doug Tobin said. But they are not being forced to leave at this time.
"What we’re telling people is don’t be fooled by the sun. Just because the sun is out, we’re not out of the storm," Sheriff Chris Nocco said.
"At 6:20 this evening is high tide...We want them to get out of their houses," Nocco said.
Those that were ready to go filled their arms with valuables, leashed their pets, and hopped on board to be taken to a staging area set up at the Walmart at the intersection of State Road 54 and Little Road, where they would then either be transported to a local shelter or make arrangements for other accommodations.
In addition to the evacuation efforts, the sheriff's office and other departments also are on the lookout for looters as the sun sets on the quickly emptying areas.
“In these areas that are affected, we have unmarked vehicles out here, we have our special units out there patrolling, we’re not going to let looters take advantage of the situation,” Nocco said.
Residents who need assistance to evacuate are asked to call 911 so they can coordinate with emergency responders in the field.
The county has buses available at the Walmart staging area to help residents that need transportation to a shelter. Two shelters are open:
- Chasco Elementary, 7906 Ridge Road
- Fasano, 11611 Denton Ave.
Anyone with special needs or pets should report to the Fasano shelter, a media release stated.
For information, call the Resident Information Center at 727-847-8959.