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Wet now? Could worsen if lakes fill

By BRADY DENNIS, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published July 2, 2002

Forecasters at the National Weather Service on Monday said that periodic flooding has hit Pasco County and other central Florida areas in recent days due to heavy rains, but if the downpours continue, it could get worse.

"There have been reports of flooding just about everywhere," forecaster David Rittenberry said. "It's nothing chronic. Everything is on a short-term basis."

But he said local lakes and rivers, previously parched by drought, are beginning to fill up. And if they start to overflow, that's when problems could start.

"There's nowhere for water to go," Rittenberry said.

"It's a problem that kind of builds on itself."

He added that forecasters are predicting a rainy summer.

"We're only one quarter of the way through the summer season, and we're due a wet one," he said. "A tropical storm could really exacerbate the problem."

Rittenberry said that some areas over the weekend experienced downpours of 5 or 6 inches of rain during a two- or three-hour period.

On Sunday, the weather service issued a flood warning for Cypress Creek, which was expected to reach flood levels today and peak nearly a half-foot higher Thursday.

The creek winds through rural central Pasco, from the Darby area south through areas east of Land O'Lakes and west of Wesley Chapel.

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