Heavy rains flooding Tampa Bay streets; cars stranded

May 2, 2014 

A system of storms is moving in off the Gulf of Mexico, bringing heavy rains and the potential for thunderstorms to much of the Bay area


T. PETERSBURG -- A system of storms is moving in off the Gulf of Mexico, bringing heavy rains and the potential for thunderstorms to much of the Bay area.

Heavy rain is causing major flood issues around Hillsborough County.

A flash flood warning has been issued for central Hillsborough County until 1 p.m. Locations in the warning include but are not limited to Lutz, New Tampa, Thonotosassa, Lettuce Lake Park, University of South Florida, Carrollwood, Temple Terrace, Busch Gardens, West Park and Tampa Executive Airport. Also Interstate 75 between exits 261 and 266 and Interstate 4 between exits 1 and 9, along with Interstate 275 between exits 39 and 53. The good news is that heavy rain is starting to leave the northern Tampa area, so the flood waters will start to recede, according to Bay News 9 Meteorologist Brian McClure.

An urban and small stream flood advisory has been issued for eastern Hillsborough County, including the cities of Plant City, Lithia, and western Polk County, including Lakeland and Mulberry until 1:30 p.m.

An advisory has also been issued for southern Hillsborough County, including Ruskin and Sun City Center and northwestern Manatee County until 2 p.m. That includes the cities of Palmetto and Bradenton.

LIVE Radar: Klystron 9 According to Bay News 9 meteorologist Juli Marquez, a front that has stalled across the Florida peninsula means more clouds, showers and thunderstorms for our area today and tomorrow.

"More showers and thunderstorms will move into Tampa Bay from the Gulf of Mexico," Marquez said.

Marquez said they are seeing reports of flooding in the USF/Busch Gardens area. At least six inches of rain has fallen near University Mall in Tampa.

Rainy weather will be hanging around through most of the weekend.

Vehicles stranded in flood waters In Tampa, cars are stranded in flood waters at the following intersections: Nebraska/Hanna Bougainvillea/30th Florida/Linebaugh 22nd/109th multiple Busch Blvd. btwn 17 St. and 50th St. 56th St & Fowler Avenue 56th St. at Busch Blvd. Tampa Police say if drivers can't see the road, don't drive through it. In Holiday, two southbound lanes of U.S. 19 at Flora Avenue are blocked due to flooding, while in Spring Hill, a viewer reported that Swallow Lane is covered in water.

In Tarpon Springs, the exterior hallways of Tarpon Springs High School were briefly flooded. School officials said the waters have since receded and that school will continue as normal. As of 7 a.m. New Port Richey had already seen nearly two inches of rain, while the Brooksville - Tampa Bay Regional Airport had already received two-thirds of an inch of rain.

Power outages The weather is causing power outages in the area.

As of 11 a.m., TECO is reporting more 3,828 customers without power. Withlacoochee River Electric Cooperative has 492 without power. And Duke Energy (Pasco, Pinellas, and Polk) about 269 customers are without power.

Event cancellations The heavy rainfall is leading to the cancellation of some events scheduled for this weekend.

The Family Fun Day Festival that was scheduled for Saturday in St. Petersburg has been canceled. Officials did not say if they planned to reschedule the event.

The American Cancer Society Relay for Life-Palm Harbor & Tarpon Springs has been postponed until Friday, May 9 at 6 p.m. to Saturday May 10 at 6 a.m. at Palm Harbor University High School.

The Night in the Islands event for May 3rd in Tarpon Springs has been postponed. Organizers plan to announce a new date as soon as possible.

Busch Gardens has delayed its opening for the day.

Lowry Park Zoo is closed for the day.

The 16th Annual 13 Ugly Men White Party canceled. Organizers will email customers regarding a new date. Refunds will be issued.

Rain chances are expected to stay high for Saturday as a front continues to move across the Florida peninsula. Once the front moves south on Sunday, Marquez said the weather will be drier with lower humidity. Hillsborough County sandbags Hillsborough County is making sandbags available to the public until 5 p.m. tonight (May 2), as weather conditions permit, at all three County Public Works Service Units:

West Service Unit - 9805 Sheldon Road South Service Unit – 8718 Old Big Bend Road East Service Unit – 4702 Sydney Road Sandbag materials will be available for residents to make their own sandbags. Each citizen must sign their name and provide their home address acknowledging the receipt of 25 sandbags or less.

Citizens also can call 813-635-5400 to report flooding/road problems or request additional information.

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