A flood watch is in effect for several Bay area counties after soaking rains caused intense flooding on Friday.
The National Weather Service issued the flood watching through 4:00 p.m. Saturday for Pinellas, Hernando, Pasco, Manatee, Sarasota, and Hillsborough counties.
By 4:00 p.m. on Friday, Temple Terrace had received over seven inches of rain. The City of Tampa estimates the storm dumped six and a half inches of rain within just two hours.
Streets flooded, and many cars that tried to brave the standing water failed, and stalled.
A stretch of Busch Oaks street turned into a river on Friday, with flood water covering the road and creeping into homes.
“Every room in the house got hit,” said Kenny Lee, who was trying to clean up the mess that stretched from the kitchen through the living room to the bathroom.
Lee said he doesn’t have flood insurance.
“That's the first thing they told us when we bought in the area, that we didn't need to have flood insurance because this is not flood zone.”
But neighbors say water rushing in from a neighboring apartment complex may have helped to overwhelm their drainage system.
The heavy rains washed out part of the parking lot at Broadmoor Apartments, taking a white Toyota Corolla with it. The car was left hanging into a hole created when part of the ground gave way, and water rushed through a fence into the backyards of the next street over.
Maybelle Bayham was alerted by a neighbor that her car was hanging over the edge.
“I’ll be on foot,” said Bayham, who worried about being without the car she uses to get to work.
Eventually, after two tow companies came out, one was able to pull the white car out. It has some sand and leaves inside, and Bayham is planning to have her brother, a mechanic, check it out before driving it.
The Red Cross is helping affected homeowners and has opened a shelter at Bible Based Fellowship Church of Temple Terrace, 8718 N. 46th Street in Tampa.
In the University Community area, heavy rain before 10:00 A.M. flooded homes and multiple intersections. At the intersection of 30th Street and Bougainvillea several cars were flooded out and their drivers stranded as they attempted to navigate the high water.
In the 1700 block of 99th Avenue, a retention pond overflowed and flooded the nearby home of David Diaz.
“Every time it rains the same thing happens over and over again. The water keeps coming up here,” said Diaz.
Another retention pond near 27th Street and Navajo Avenue also flooded. Homeowners in that area complain their retention pond is filled with weeds and silt, and they say the city is doing little to maintain it.
In South Tampa, Bayshore Boulevard was underwater near Publix, and in several other usual spots. Many small roads were impassable in the area north of Kennedy Boulevard and south of Interstate 275.
Drivers who tried to turn off flooded roads often got lost in back streets as they tried to find a safe route that was not flooded.
Flood waters in many areas had receded by early evening, but residents and officials are still assessing the total damage.
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