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Incessant downpours flood Manatee County roads

Manatee County

MANATEE COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – Manatee County has been inundated with rain over the past few days, and Friday’s downpour has only made things worse. It’s a mess with flooded streets and canceled football games.

For DeSean Watson, it’s a frequent nuisance.

“Oh man, we see this all the time. With rain, constant rain or heavy rain, it always floods like this here,” said Watson.

Within minutes, his front yard along 5th Street became a lake.

“Today I wanted to get out I couldn’t get out you know, its been like this since early this morning, so I had to miss work,” he said.

Across the street, one man’s yard has tire tracks because people frequently cut through to avoid the flooding.

“Every time it rains, it floods out here. A five-minute rain, it floods,” said the man.

This was the story all over Manatee County on Friday. County officials say over the past few days, some areas have received 12 inches of rain or more, so the ground is saturated and stormwater ponds are full.

All along Interstate 75, traffic was brought to a crawl because of frequent accidents.

The rains have ruined Friday night plans: six preseason high school football games in Manatee County have been canceled.

“Our field conditions were so soft, the turf was starting to give way even when you walked on it that it became a student-athlete safety issue,” said Supervisor of Athletics Jason Montgomery. “Outside of the years where we’ve had hurricanes, we’ve never taken this kind of rain in a short amount of time, so the fields, our drainage systems have been overwhelmed.”

“Just literally walking on it, you sink three to four inches into the turf. So you could imagine what a lineman or somebody like that digging, trying to push, would do to your field,” Montgomery added.

School officials say they do plan to have regular-season games begin as scheduled next Friday.

“As long as it breaks mid-week and we get a few days in between, our fields tend to drain well and that was a big problem this week. We had zero breaks,” said Montgomery.

Public Works Director Chad Butzow said no county roads have closed but drivers should avoid areas where waters haven’t receded after a strong rain. 

The Public Works department will make sandbags available at a Public Works facility at 5511 39th Street East in Bradenton. 

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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