ST. PETE BEACH, Fla. (WFLA) — Several inches of rain have fallen in the Tampa Bay area over the last few days. As the water level rises in one St. Pete Beach neighborhood, so do the residents’ frustrations.
“We’re in the heart of hurricane season,” said Vincent Tormenia. “It’s very scary to know that this water rises this fast here.”
Tormenia, a St. Pete Beach resident, watched the water come in further and further Saturday with dread.
“The water came rushing in,” Tormenia explained. “It started filling up the street and we couldn’t get out of our driveways.”
Waterlogged streets are more than just a nuisance for people living on them — it directly impacts their lives, turning homes into islands.
“Yesterday I had an appointment,” said Jade Caswell. “I had go out at 1 p.m., and I couldn’t get my car out.”
Caswell and her mom live in the community. They try to move their cars out of the street onto Gulf Boulevard anytime there’s heavy rain in the forecast, but even the shoulder of Gulf floods at times.
“The flooding has been something that’s always been around,” Caswell said. “But in the past five, 10 years it’s gotten a lot worse.”
High ground is a hot commodity.
“The streets get flooded,” Jim, a St. Pete Beach resident said. “You get a few inches of water in the streets when you have a high tide, [then a] combination of high tide and rain.”
But during hurricane season, that combination could be catastrophic.
“Even before the rain started the water was backing up into, up the sewer, storm drains, into the streets,” Jim said. “It’s been a problem for a while.”
That tide comes over the seawall, just feet from front yards. Some in the community blame the city for not taking care of the drainage issues.
“They have tried to fix it several times,” Tormenia said. “We’ve been having our assessment on our taxes for the last 12 years on this situation and it’s been a nightmare that the people they hire don’t fix it properly.”
Tormenia said the water could go up to his knees at some of its deepest points. He wants to dredge the bay in order to reduce the water level.
“It’s ridiculous, you know, that this is not being taken care of,” Tormenia said. 8 On Your Side reached out to St. Pete Beach for comment but have not yet heard back.
Caswell said she’s never gotten stuck in the water, but knows plenty of people that have.
“They put up a sign at the end of the block,” Tormenia said. “But it seems to do nothing because people down here and they get stuck.”
While most of the waters receded a couple hours after the rain, the residents say all you have to do is wait — the flooding will repeat itself tomorrow.