POLK COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – As claw trucks still circulate around Polk County picking up debris from Hurricane Ian, residents in inaccessible areas are preparing for a mess from Tropical Storm Nicole.
“It’s already a mess, make it a bigger mess,” said Donald McPherson.
Tall piles of debris have been sitting in front of McPherson’s home in a south Lakeland cul-de-sac since early October after Hurricane Ian.
County officials said the large tandem trucks cannot access certain narrow areas, like cul-de-sacs and dead ends.
Debris pickup in those areas will have to wait until smaller trucks are available.
“I understand that. I think most people do. It doesn’t make it any better. You gotta understand that we’re not the only block,” said McPherson.
Other residents fear Nicole will swirl up the existing debris and add more.
“It might add to some more debris and when are we gonna get that picked up?” said David Anderson.
“I think it’s gonna even be worse. We’re gonna get more trees and brush and limbs,” said David Tyson, who did have his debris picked up Tuesday.
The county has picked up more than 180,000 tons of debris, which has been registered for FEMA at the debris management sites.
The first round is mostly completed, according to county officials. The second pass will begin after Thanksgiving.
Polk County’s Emergency Management Director Paul Womble said after-effects from Ian could factor into Nicole’s damage.
“We’ve got debris on the ground still and power systems may not be completely hardened like they were before Ian, so you add all that up so there’s certainly some potential impacts in the county,” said Womble.
The county reminds residents the claw trucks cannot navigate around obstructions, including power lines, parked cars, trees or mailboxes.
Debris mixed with fencing, construction materials and household items will not be picked up until the final pass.
Leaves, moss and small twigs must be bagged for collection.