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Hermine Closes Schools, Government Offices, Roads

Hurricane Hermine was downgraded to a tropical storm as it moved across Florida downing trees and flooding roads up and down the coast. Some local schools and government offices will remain closed Friday due to the heavy rain and winds blanketing the region. Others, in areas less threatened by the storm, have reopened.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott has ordered government offices in 37 counties, including Hillsborough, Pinellas, Manatee, Pasco, Hernando and Citrus, to remain closed Friday.

Winds averaging 45 MPH have forced the closure of the Sunshine Skyway Bridge. Gusts around 56 MPH have also been measured.


Pinellas, Hillsborough, Manatee, Pasco, Citrus and Hernando County public schools are closed Friday.

Officials with these counties indicate decisions about after-school activities - particularly Friday night football - will be made Friday.

University of South Florida Athletics expects to hold all scheduled events on campus Friday, however weather conditions will continue to be monitored.  The USF football game on Saturday night at Raymond James Stadium will be played as scheduled at 7 p.m.


Hillsborough County offices and facilities, including libraries, recreation centers, regional parks and nature preserves, are open during normal business hours Friday.

Pinellas County government offices, parks, preserves and all courts within the Sixth Judicial Circuit are open to the public Friday.

Sand Key Park in Clearwater, Fort De Soto Park, Lake Seminole Park, War Veterans' Memorial Park, John S. Taylor Park, Fred Howard Park, Heritage Village and Weedon Island Preserve are closed until further notice.

Pasco and Hernando County Government offices are open Friday.

Hernando County has closed Pine Island Park near Bayport due to flooding and damage to the observation deck, while Bayport Park is closed due to damage to the fishing pier. Both parks are closed until further notice.

In Citrus County, Fort Island Beach in Crystal River is closed for the weekend due to winds and rain knocking the ramp and pier down.

The Sunshine Skyway Bridge reopened around 4 p.m.

Bayshore Blvd in Tampa is closed between Platt St. and Bay to Bay Ave.

Tampa police issued a list of roads that are flooded that people are encouraged to avoid:

District 1
Bristol/Howard-standing water
Bryant/Dundee completely flooded
Ingraham/Elliott- Standing water impassable 
Hawthorne/Dundee completely flooded
Hawthorne Cr/Parkview St completely flooded
Platt/Bayshore- Bayshore closed n/s to Bay to Bay impassable
San Miguel/DM-standing water but passable
Sunset/Parkview-completely flooded
Sunset/Westshore completely flooded
Sunset/Bryant completely flooded
Sunset/Dundee completely flooded
El Prado from Manh to Thatcher flooded not passable
Manhattan from Interbay to Gandy NB lanes only not passable
Manh/Vasconia underwater not passable
Himes/Morrison underwater

District 2
Sligh/River Bl flooding from HLSB River

District 3
22nd St S/Oceanview flooded
22nd St S/Oakwood flooded
22nd St S/Maple flooded
24th St S/Davis St flooded
24th St S/Grant flooded
24th St S/Gordon St flooded
26th St S/Stuart flooded
26th St S/Linsey flooded
26th St S/Thrace flooded
26th St S/Gordon flooded
26th St S/Davis St flooded

Street flooding continues in St. Petersburg in the 83rd Avenue North area, Shore Acres, Coffee Pot Bayou and other low lying areas. Only residents and emergency workers are being allowed into the Shore Acres and Snell Isle areas.

Pasco County road closures can be viewed here.

In Citrus County, US Hwy 19 is closed from Fort Island Trail to the Crystal River Mall. Cars traveling on side roads west of 19 will be limited to local traffic only and emergency vehicles. 

US Hwy 19 is also flooded between Cardinal Lane in Homosassa to State Road 488 in Crystal River.  Ozello Rd at US Hwy 19 is also shut down. Local residents can return only in an emergency. Ft. Island Trail west of Shrimp Landings is closed to all traffic. Halls River Road is closed, while drivers can get as far as a half mile down from Bluebird Springs Park on Yulee Drive before they have to turn around.

Hernando County officials say many side roads in coastal areas remain closed due to debris and water on the road. Osowaw Boulevard is closed at Shoal Line Boulevard, but local residents are being allowed to enter.

POWER OUTAGES:  As of 2:15 p.m.-
TECO Energy - Number of customers without power: 10,804

Duke Energy - 25,514 in Tampa Bay area and 53,156 across Florida

Withlacoochee River Electric Cooperative - 5,496 in Hernando, Pasco and Citrus

Pasco County Public Transportation (PCPT) buses has resumed regular service on all routes except these due to flooding:
- Route 14 - Sea Forest
- Route 21 - Hudson Beach
- Route 18 - Sponge Docks

Amtrak trains will not be operating trains into Orlando or Tampa in either direction.

Mark Schreiner is the assistant news director and intern coordinator for WUSF News.
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