Flooding issues continue for North Port following Elsa

Published: July 9, 2021 10:28 AM EDT
Updated: July 9, 2021 6:13 PM EDT

Floodwaters continued to impact areas of North Port.

Many people have stocked up on sandbags while others have evacuated as the flooding gets worse.

According to a news release from the city, about half-dozen vehicles were stuck in the high water needing rescue crews to respond.

The good news is the water hasn’t gotten much higher but the flooding is more widespread and has begun to block more streets and started to creep into yards.

The roads affected are those near the Myakkahatchee Creek. Four feet of water fills low-lying city streets, and many vehicles can’t pass through the flooded roads.

Authorities are also limiting the traffic to local residents.

However, no homes were flooded yet, but people in the affected area are preparing for the possibility of wet floors this weekend.

Region 6 Strike team was deployed Friday morning to help with the issues. The group includes members from nearby government agencies in addition to high water vehicles and boats.

Also deployed is the Urban Search and Rescue Team Task Force 6, from Lee County, which spent about a week digging through the rubble of the Surfside building collapse.

On Thursday, the city ordered voluntary evacuations for areas affected by sheet flow from rains deposited by Elsa, as the storm moved through the area earlier this week.

At least three people utilized the city’s emergency center, the city said.

Water gauges to the north of the city, near State Road 72, are currently lowering, but the City of North Port estimates it could be before Sunday before those effects will be felt.

“We’re hopeful the water will move laterally between ditches, and not up, into homes,” said Josh Taylor, public information officer for the City of North Port. “We’re asking that roads in the area stay to local traffic and that people respect the fact that water could be pushed into homes from the wake of vehicles.”

Audrey Lewis needs an off-road vehicle to get around her neighborhood.

“In front of our house, we have about, if I would have to guess four or 5 feet of water,” Lewis said. “We can’t take the regular road that we usually go to our house. We have to go the long roundabout way.”

She lives near Sumter and Tropicare boulevards, the worst reported flooding so far. That’s why her family evacuated their horses.

“It was only going to be a matter of time where they were going to be completely underwater,” Lewis said.

Vanessa Carr said the floods haven’t stopped.

“It just continues to grow.

Carr is not dealing with higher waters but instead, the flooding has spread.

“This wasn’t here yesterday evening,” Carr said. “We could walk through here. We even moved the lawnmower and a vehicle from back here and now it’s all the way up.”

Neighbors fear it’s only a matter of time before the floodwaters reach their front doors. That’s when they say they will start to worry.

“That’s why we are getting as many sandbags as possible to build a barrier,” Lewis said.

A lot of the people in the area have decided to get out and stay somewhere else.

“We’re making the decision whether to stay or get out now before it gets worse,” said Jason King of North Port.

North Port city leaders expect the situation to get worse with possible rain over the weekend.

It’s a chance drivers can’t take.

“You can’t see the road and if you go off the road, you can definitely end up sinking,” Lewis said.

The city hopes the water continues to move outward instead of upward through the weekend.

If floodwaters look too deep, the best thing to do is to turn around.

MORE: 

  • The American Red Cross is helping to operate the emergency center at the Morgan at 6207 W. Price Blvd
  • The city is handing out sandbags at the George Mullen Activity Center, at 1602 Kramer Way, near City Hall
  • Those seeking information on the flooding can call 941-429-7169  until 7 p.m. or online here