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Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. Photo: Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Crews are working to prevent "a real catastrophic flood situation" and are evacuating people out of harm's way, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) said during a press conference Sunday, the AP reports.

Why it matters: DeSantis declared a state of emergency on Saturday due to a leak at a wastewater pond in the Tampa area.

Details: So far, 316 homes have been evacuated and state authorities have closed portions of U.S. Highway 41, per AP.

  • Prisoners and staff on the ground floor of a local jail about a mile from the pond have been moved to the second floor to account for possible flooding, and sandbags have been put in place.

What they're saying: “What we are looking at now is trying to prevent and respond to, if need be, a real catastrophic flood situation,” said DeSantis.

Manatee County Administrator Scott Hopes said Sunday that with new state resources crews working at the site will nearly double the amount of water being pumped out of the pond.

  • "Looking at the water that has been removed and the somewhat stability of the current breach, I think the team is much more comfortable today than we were yesterday,” he said.
  • “We are not out of the critical area yet," he added.

Go deeper

DeSantis declares state of emergency over leak at Tampa Bay-area wastewater pond

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis at a news conference in Melbourne, Florida. Photo: Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) on Saturday declared a state of emergency for Manatee County as officials warned the collapse of a gypsum stack at the Piney Point industrial site was "imminent."

The big picture: The old phosphate plant site, in operation from the 1960s until 2001, holds stacks of phosphogypsum, a byproduct of fertilizer production, and large pools of polluted water, Axios' Ben Montgomery, Selene San Felice reported. A leak was discovered in the 77-acre process water pond last week.

Tampa Bay stares down environmental disaster from Piney Point phosphate plant

Anna Maria Island, near the mouth of Tampa Bay. Photo: Jeffrey Greenberg/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

A worsening series of breaches in a 800-million-gallon holding pool at the Piney Point industrial site prompted Manatee County to evacuate residents within about a mile of the plant tonight.

  • The Manatee County Sheriff’s Office and the Florida Highway Patrol closed off roads in the evacuation zone around U.S. 41 in Palmetto, per the Bradenton Herald, and the Red Cross has been called in to assist.

Thousands without power as "hazardous" winter storm lashes East Coast

Winter view from Charlotte as winter storm Izzy creates dangerous conditions in Charlotte, N.C. on Jan. 16. Photo: Peter Zay/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

A major winter storm was lashing much of the East Coast on Sunday, causing widespread power outages and disrupting travel over the holiday weekend.

The big picture: Heavy snow and ice accumulations were "likely to produce hazardous travel," downed trees and more outages from the Mid-South to the Northeast, per the National Weather Service. Some parts of the U.S. can expect to see up to a foot of snow through Monday.

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