Withlacoochee River set to reach highest point, slowly recede in Hernando, Pasco counties

HERNANDO COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – The Withlacoochee River is expected to reach its highest point Wednesday, but it won’t begin to recede until Friday, according to the National Weather Service.

The river was measured at 17.66 feet Wednesday evening and is expected to crest at 17.7 feet.

Thousands of families in Hernando and Pasco counties are at risk of flooding.

Communities along SR 50 and US 98 where the counties meet have been hit hard.

Homes for sale have been ruined and people are dealing with the loss of belongings damaged by water.

Some homes appear to be on islands surrounded by water that wasn’t there before Hurricane Irma.

“It’s been rising two inches every day,” Vallie Jones said.

She lives in the Riverdale subdivision just north of Dade City.

“I’m just worried. I’m worried that my trailer will be next,” Jones said.

Jones has a front row view of what could happen as homes next door are flooded by rising waters.

“They’ve been through it before, just like me,” John Van Buren said.

Van Buren has grown to learn the river’s habits over the past 26 years.

“I know what to look for and what to do ahead of time. It’ll go down slow, very slow,” Van Buren said.

The river is expected to begin receding by Friday at the earliest.

Van Buren said there’s always something to learn from each flood and to “be prepared all the time. I’m already thinking about next hurricane season.”

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