By the time it hit the Tampa Bay area, Hurricane Eta had been downgraded to Tropical Storm Eta — but the storm still caused disruptions and left some damage in its wake.
Pasco County Schools closed early on Nov. 11 due to the potential for high winds, and the district remained closed on Nov. 12. All events also were canceled that day.
But, the district reopened on Nov. 13, as expected, because there were no reports of significant damage.
“The school district sent students and staff home early on Wednesday while the unpredictable storm made its way toward the Tampa Bay area,” a district news release said.
“The district is closed today (Thursday), as staff members take stock of all schools and district offices. It became clear early Thursday morning that, despite heavy winds and significant rainfall, schools and district offices were largely unscathed,” the release said.
Some coastal and low-lying areas were flooded, but those were primarily outside The Laker/Lutz New coverage area.
Tambrey Laine, communications manager for Pasco County, said there were no reports of significant damage in Pasco County, no rescues and no road closures.
She also noted that any minor street flooding that did occur, had subsided.
Hillsborough County Emergency Management also reported minimal damage, according to Jose Patino, on the county’s communications staff. The county did open five shelters, which were used by 29 people, he said.
As the storm was heading toward the region, Pasco County emergency officials urged residents to be prepared for tropical force storm winds and heavy rain.
The county also opened additional sandbag stations in San Antonio, Hudson, New Port Richey, Wesley Chapel, Dade City and Land O’ Lakes, to help prevent flooding.
Pasco County did not issue any evacuation orders, but encouraged those living in low-lying or coastal areas to consider staying with family, friends, or at a local hotel further inland.
The tropical storm did disrupt serves from Hillsborough Area Regional Transit, which suspended all bus routes temporarily in preparation of sustained storm winds as high as 70 mph. Those services were restore on Nov. 12.
Hillsborough County conservation parks and most nature preserves, including hiking trails, were closed on Nov. 13, for damage assessment after Tropical Storm Eta, but reopened on Nov. 14.
Some parks and preserves that will reopen, however, might have some areas or amenities that are closed for several days due to flooding. Non-paved trails are expected to remain wetter than normal for the next several days.
For more information, visit HCFLGov.net/Conservation.
Published November 18, 2020