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Thursday, Oct 18, 2018
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Hernando News

On Pine Island, residents underwhelmed by surge and guests hampered by closed park

PINE ISLAND - The cars kept coming, one or two every few minutes Thursday afternoon.

The drivers would steer down Pine Island Drive, the lone road into this tiny community of the same name, roll through the one section still covered with water from Wednesday's rainfall and reach the locked gates of Alfred A. McKethan Park.

Then they'd turn around. The park had been closed since the day before.

Those would-be beachgoers counted for most of the action on the island the day after the National Hurricane Center predicted Hernando County would receive 4 to 6 feet of storm surge as Hurricane Michael headed north.

Residents of Pine Island, which sticks out into the Gulf of Mexico, were underwhelmed.

"I don't think anyone out here had any problem this time," said Weiland Rogers at his home on Cabana Street, between Pine Island Drive and the Gulf, which he built in 1973.

"It never even got up in the slab," he said, referring to the surge the day before and the concrete slab where his house sits.

Across the street, resident Tim Speer had just gotten home and was wondering what he needed to do. He and his girlfriend left the day before because of the predictions and stayed at his father's house in Spring Hill.

"They said it was supposed to be a 4 to 6 surge, and it wasn't anywhere close to that," he said, pointing to the only debris nearby, a line of grass and leaves.

"There's nothing to clean up," he said.

People on the main road had filled trash cans with loose branches and fronds, and water still stood in several yards, but that was about it. Except for those tourists.

The beachside park was set to re-open Friday, a county parks official said.

Contact Justin Trombly at jtrombly@tampabay.com. Follow @JustinTrombly.

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