RUSKIN, Fla. - Normal flood stage for the Little Manatee River in Hillsborough County is 11 feet. On Monday night, it was already at 16 feet, and by Wednesday it's expected to hit nearly 18 feet.
The main areas of concern are in Wimauma and Ruskin, specifically near 32nd and 33rd Streets. The river is expected to exceed its previous crest record of just over 17 feet. That was back in 2003.
There have been some really tense moments for some of those who live at the River Oaks RV Resort in Ruskin. A pond on the property looked more like a lake over the last few days as Tropical Storm Debby dumped inches and inches of rain in the area.
But the bigger concern now that Debby has moved on and has been downgraded to a tropical depression is the Little Manatee River right across the street. If the river spills out of its banks, those who live in the area know they are in deep trouble and may have to leave their homes.
Mike Worley is the manager of the RV resort. He says, "Oh yeah if it keeps going we'd have to get out of here for sure and all I can do is ask them to leave you know. Can't force them. If they listen to me they should leave. 17.1? I'll watch it but you know it can come real fast and that's what I stress to them. I saw that tonight. One of the rivers up here got that community up north. That lady was literally dry - within an hour her house is underwater from the river."
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