On Friday, only one riverfront resident inhabited the shelter opened at the Hernando County Mining Association Enrichment Center in Brooksville. But more could be coming in the days ahead as residents are driven from their homes by the rising waters of the Withlacoochee River.
The county has issued a voluntary evacuation of the area in east Hernando, and emergency management officials are urging people to get out as the water rises so they don't need to be rescued, as was the case with one resident and a dog that had to be plucked from the expanding river Thursday.
At the Trilby gauge, the river was rising toward major flood stage, with the level at Croom nearing moderate flood stage. By Friday afternoon, the river at Trilby was at 15.79 feet, well above the 12-foot flood level. The National Weather Service projected a continuing rise to more than 16.5 feet by Sunday.
BOIL ORDER OFF: Brooksville on Friday lifted its boil water notice, including the Royal Oaks community.
Brooksville's water issue was blamed on a power failure at the water plant, which created pressure problems. Not only did the city have to warn residents of possible contamination; pressure became too low for proper fighting of any potential fires. Those issues were resolved, allowing the reopening of City Hall as well as the lifting of the boil order.
PARKS CLEANUP: The Brooksville Parks and Recreation Department has been cleaning up city parks to prepare them for reopening.
The Jerome Brown Community Center and the Tom Varn Park basketball courts are already open. Bud McKethan Park and the Tom Varn Park playground, softball fields and pavilions reopen today. On Monday, the Jerome Brown softball fields will reopen.
City facilities closed until further notice include: Brooksville Cemetery, the Tom Varn Park walking trail and volleyball courts, the Quarry walking trail, Russell Street Park and the Good Neighbor Trail from Russell Street Park to Weatherly Road.
CARBON MONOXIDE POISONING: A woman living on Paul Drive in Brooksville called Hernando County Fire Rescue on Friday morning to report that she and her husband were feeling ill and that they were running a generator.
Fire crews found the generator running outside in the breezeway of the home, and fumes inside indicated the possible presence of carbon monoxide. Gas meters confirmed carbon monoxide, and the couple were taken to a local hospital for treatment.
Fire Rescue officials continue to stress the proper use of generators while many county residents are still without power. Earlier this week, a generator caused a fire at one Hernando County home, and elsewhere carbon monoxide killed a dog and sickened another.