Hernando County Emergency Management director Cecilia Patella urged continued vigilance in the neighborhoods threatened by the rising waters of the Withlacoochee River.
The river had reached about 15 feet by Wednesday afternoon at Trilby, where flood stage is 12 feet, and just over 9 feet at Croom, where flood stage is 9 feet. The river was forecast to rise through the weekend.
"Please remember to be diligent and move away from the river to higher ground" if the water rises into yards, Patella said during a briefing Wednesday morning.
As of Wednesday morning, only 10 Hernando residents had reported damage from the storm to the Emergency Management public information office, and Hernando County was not included on the early list of counties where residents could qualify for Federal Emergency Management Agency assistance to help with storm cleanup. County officials urged those with damage to report it as soon as possible. Residents may call (352) 754-4083.
Officials said damage should not be reported on social media. By late Wednesday, Hernando had been added to the FEMA list.
TRASH AND DEBRIS REMOVAL
Republic Services, the county's waste hauler, has resumed picking up household waste, but not recycling or yard waste.
Separate pickups of debris from storm damage will begin Monday. Residents are asked to separate items into two piles: one for vegetative items such as tree limbs and the other for construction debris. The cleanup will come in two waves, which will likely take several weeks.
Boil-water notices continue for the city of Brooksville, which reopened City Hall on Wednesday. Notices also affect Weeki Wachee Woodlands, Royal Oaks and all of the county east of U.S. 41, excluding Dogwood Estates and Cedar Lane.
In addition, Wednesday brought another incident involving misuse of a generator. In the morning, Hernando County Fire Rescue was called to a house in Masaryktown where a generator was found running in the garage with the door closed, but no one was home. The emergency responders found one dog in the residence dead, likely from carbon monoxide poisoning, and another that required aggressive medical treatment.
The Hernando County Sheriff's Office has announced plans to form a volunteer shallow-water rescue team to assist during disasters when residents become trapped by rising water and need to be rescued by boat.
The team would consist of volunteer citizens with flat-bottom boats, airboats, all-terrain vehicles, utility vehicles or trucks.
Those who are interested should visit www.hernandosheriff.org and look under the "Programs" tab to complete the online registration form.
Hernando County Emergency Management announced that all shelters have been closed that were opened for Hurricane Irma evacuees. In total, 5,267 residents were sheltered. In addition, 736 pets were accommodated.
WEEKI WACHEE SPRINGS
Weeki Wachee Springs State Park, which closed for the storm, remains closed until further notice, according to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.