NORTH FORT MYERS, Fla.- Lee County declared a State of Emergency this evening, because of flooding in North Fort Myers.
Roads are cut off, people have to wade through water to get into their homes, and animals are stranded. The flooding is happening in neighborhoods just south of the Charlotte County line.
Just about every living creature on Nalle Grade at Slater Road is looking for higher ground. Goats and ducks stand on a small rise in a flooded pasture.
W.C. Bennett, nearly 80 years old, had to wade from his home, to the road, to get food and other supplies from his daughter. He's been there for nearly
"I ain't never had this. I've had water, but not this bad. It is not draining through here," said Bennett.
Bennett moved to the area in 1990 and has never seen it this bad.
Another home owner is coping with the breach of a dike around his property, a dike that had held up for several years.
"It let go and then the water took it out in two other places. So, we are just waiting for it to get back to normal," said Joe Pocklington.
Residents blame Daughtry Creek, which is too small to hold the water as it flows south to the Caloosahatchee River. They claim plans to widen the creek have not materialized. Residents also blame run-off from heavy rains in Charlotte County, called sheet flow, also comes through the community, heading to the river.
One man said he has seen flooding to this extent only three other times in 40 years, but he takes it in stride.
"This is the country. It happens. Don't like it, get the hell out! It don't bother me a bit," said Kirk Kirkpatrick.
Lee Commissioner Frank Mann toured the area this afternoon, and said the county can put fill on private roads in an emergency. He defined that as flooding so bad, that emergency vehicles cannot get through. That point is fast approaching.
Charles Hatchett's front yard looks more like his own personal lake. Hatchett has lived down Slater Road for nearly 18 years and says this kind of flooding is a first.
"This is the worst I have seen it since then and the culverts are bigger now," he said.
For miles, sides of roads are filled to the brim with flowing water and people are left to drive with extrme caution. Even animals find themselves stranded with nowhere to go.
"What may just be somebody just thinks they are driving on water on the road, then all of the sudden they are in a deep hole, it could easily swallow the front end of their car or hang up one of our trucks." said Bayshore Fire and Rescue Chief Larry Nisbet.
That could delay emergency response times by up to 15 minutes.