PALM HARBOR, Fla. (WFLA) – Floodwaters are receding in Palm Harbor. Earlier Monday rescuers evacuated the Sherwood Forest RV Park and Caladesi Mobile Home Park on Alternate 19 and Tampa Road. At one point Monday morning the water was five feet deep inside the parks.
Both parks are located off Alternate 19 near Tampa Road. The area is prone to flooding. Two Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority (PSTA) buses were dispatched on Monday morning to evacuate residents at Caladesi RV Park, which is located at 205 Dempsey Road in Palm Harbor. A manager at the park said that in addition to the high water, there are concerns residents could be electrocuted.
Firefighters were also helping evacuate residents at the nearby Sherwood Forest RV Park. Some Sherwood residents were evacuated by rowboat. Residents who were evacuated were taken to the Clearwater Community Church located at 2897 Belcher Road in Dunedin.
“We got everything out,” Jane Fox said. “Our trike, our golf cart, our truck, but we didn’t get ourselves out.” Fox told 8 On Your side she had 10 inches of water inside her home when she evacuated. Her family has no insurance to cover the damage. “The kitty cats are still in there,” Fox said.” But they’re up on the bed.”
Firefighters loaded a family of four onto a small boat along with their two dogs. The youngest child is a newborn infant. “It just kinda came and snuck up on us,” the child’s mother said.
As the day wore on, military vehicles helped ferry people to safety and Pinellas Sheriff Bob Gualtieri worried a high tide and more rain would make things even worse. But, by day’s end, conditions improved. The water receded, and traffic once again flowed freely along Alternate 19 after a daylong closure.
The area has flooded before, most notably during Tropical Storm Debby in 2012. But longtime businessman Steve Barron insists he hasn’t seen anything like this in 30 years. “This is the worst I’ve seen,” Barron said.