HUDSON, Fla. - For Linda Grimm, there's nothing more precious in this world than Fuzzball. The shaved-down, long-haired, gray tortoiseshell cat was either coming to the hurricane shelter with her, or Grimm wasn't coming at all, tropical storm notwithstanding.
"Fuzzer has to be with me," Grimm said. The scooter-bound Port Richey resident was willing to be evacuated from her home in a flood zone because the Mike Fasano Regional Hurricane Shelter in Hudson is one of just a rare few that accept pets.
"Being that I knew I could come here with my cat, which is my baby, it was fine," Grimm said, as her 15-year old furry friend rubbed her face into the black wire crate.
Fuzzball wasn't alone. Two parakeets quietly waited for their owner perched in a white bird cage. A black dog sat in a tan kennel looking upwards at passersby.
Grimm said she had little choice whether to evacuate. Her neighborhood was among those damaged during Tropical Storm Debby nearly two months ago.
"It flooded back in June, and they shut roads off and they were going to turn the electric off," Grimm said. "They came and got me."
Pasco County Emergency management said 18 people were evacuated to the Fasano shelter, mostly special needs residents who were unable to leave their homes without help.
Steve Lang said he's learned not to mess with Florida weather. He gladly accepted an invitation to the shelter.
"I've been here for 49-years," Lang said. "Tropical storms. You can't predict where they're going to go until they go there," he said.
Much of Pasco county was doused with a steady downpour overnight and most of the morning. While the area dodged significant damage from Tropical Storm Isaac, the real problems may be yet to come.
The Anclote River has been the source of repeated flooding after major rain events, and some of the worst was seen after Debby. Emergency managers are keeping watch of rising water levels because of runoff from this storm.
"Our retention ponds were already full before we started to receive these rain bands," said Eric Keaton, Pasco Public Communications manager. "We didn't need even a little bit of rain," Keaton said.
Officials expect the next 24 to 48 hours to bring the biggest potential for flooding.
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