flooding

Even though Hurricane Irma is well behind us, many neighborhoods remain several feet underwater - including one along the Alafia River near Lithia.

Hurricane Irma evacuees trying to return home can breathe a little easier.

The Florida Department of Transportation said Thursday the state will not have to close a portion of Interstate 75 in Alachua County, as Santa Fe River flooding has started to recede.

“As of this morning, FDOT engineers and state meteorologists do not believe that the Santa Fe River will reach a level to make the interstate unsafe,” a news release from the Department of Transportation and the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles said.

Clay County has wrapped up swift water rescue efforts and consolidated the emergency operations center as the recovery from Hurricane Irma continues.

Rising rivers could shut down part of Interstate 75 in north Florida, the Florida Highway Patrol says.

The Santa Fe River, which travels under the interstate, has risen more than 15 feet in the past two days due to Hurricane Irma.

The Florida Highway Patrol was forced to close U.S. 27 Wednesday evening due to the rising waters.

Other bridges that could be affected include U.S. 41, State Road 47 and U.S. 121, according to a release from FHP.

Both north and southbound lanes of the interstate at the Santa Fe River would be closed.

Quincy J. Walters / WGCU News

Gov. Rick Scott visited the Florida Power & Light staging area at Southwest Florida International Airport on Tuesday. He also visited flooded areas of Southwest Florida.

Utility trucks, prepping to restore power to the region were lined up far into the horizon. Scott briefly spoke to reporters about the power situation in the area. 

"I've been to shelters. I know everyone wants their power back," said Scott. "It's the biggest thing we can do right now, but we gotta be safe about it." 

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