Florida drying out after record rain

MARCO ISLAND, Fla. Almost 5 trillion gallons of water fell on Florida between Monday morning and Thursday morning, WINK Meteorologist Matt Devitt said.

“That is equivalent to almost five Lake Okeechobees being dumped across the state,” Devitt said.

Thursday was much drier, giving hard-hit areas a chance to start cleaning up. As much as 19 inches of rain fell in some places around southern Collier County, according to Devitt. Much less fell in Fort Myers, but it was enough to break a 43-year-old record.

All roads on Marco Island flooded Wednesday afternoon, police said, and viewer Tim Conway sent video showing some of those deluged streets.

Driving through standing water isn’t the best idea, Executive Auto Repair Manager Henry MacDonald said.

“Even going very slow through the water, when it gets to a certain point, it gets into different modules and into the motor,” MacDonald said. “It can be very costly to get the repairs taken care of.”

Marco Island garages like MacDonald’s are seeing extra business this week, he said.

The amount of property damage racked up from the storms is unclear. But as rainy season sets in, the time to prepare is running out, if it hasn’t already.

Anyone who buys flood insurance now would have to wait awhile for the policy to take effect.

“There’s a 30-day lag time,” Fort Myers-based East and Greenwell insurance agent Jeff East said. “You can’t call and get flood insurance when the river is rising.”

Reporter:Channing Frampton