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The Latest: Thousands told to evacuate as Fla. river floods

Posted September 17

— The Latest on Hurricane Irma in Florida (all times local):

2:20 p.m.

Thousands of Florida residents are being urged to evacuate a week after Hurricane Irma's rains are overflowing the Withlacoochee River.

Hernando County Sheriff's officials said Sunday the river has reached major flood stage at the Trilby gauge. The river is currently at 16.79 feet and is expected to crest at 17.5 feet Wednesday. The crest is expected to last two days before receding.

Water is already covering the streets and as high as mailboxes in some places. Deputies have gone door to door encouraging residents to leave, warning they may not be able to rescue them once the waters reach a certain level.

Four thousand residents in the Brooksville area are under a voluntary evacuation. Authorities said more than 1,900 properties could flood.

The Withlacoochee River hasn't seen this level of flooding since the 2004 hurricane season.

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12:30 p.m.

Students in two of the nation's largest school districts will return to class Monday.

Miami-Dade County Public Schools Superintendent Alberto Carvalho? tweeted that some schools still don't have air conditioning but they will try to make it comfortable for students and staff. He said tardies and absences will be excused Monday because of lingering power outages throughout the community. Broward County schools will also resume Monday.

The news comes as a relief for parents worried about juggling childcare as they head into a second week of recovering from Hurricane Irma.

Some families in the two districts — which serve almost 700,000 students — are still without power.

In some of the hardest hit areas of southwest Florida and in Monroe County, which includes the Florida Keys, classes have been postponed until Sept. 25.

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11:30 a.m.

At just 61 square-feet it's the smallest post office in the nation, but it still held its own against Hurricane Irma.

The Ochopee Post Office in rural Collier County lost power temporarily, but stood strong as Irma destroyed several buildings in the area, including the home of the postal clerk.

The Naples Daily News reports that Postal Clerk Shannon Mitchell lost her home in the storm and so did several of her family members.

The littlest post office has one 131-mile mail route serving more than 900 residents, including delivery on the Miccosukee Indian Reservation.

Mitchell opened the office on Friday.

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