As floodwaters rise in North Port, more residents make plans to evacuate

Sarasota County

NORTH PORT, Fla (WFLA) – Rising floodwaters are threatening hundreds of homes in the North Port Estates community. The water has been rising to what city leaders are calling ‘concerning’ levels since Thursday morning.

City officials say the flooding is a direct result of what was Hurricane Elsa. The storm dumped around 10 inches of rain on parts of the city Tuesday night. Now, days later, excess stormwater from rural parts of Sarasota and Manatee counties is making its way south, overloading the Myakkahatchee Creek.

Depending on tides, depending on where else there has been rain it all meets and sometimes it just doesn’t have anywhere to go,” said Josh Taylor with the City of North Port.

New residents like Rachel Gregory are taking no chances.

“I’ve only been here about a year and so I’m really nervous about how high up it’s going to get and not being able to get inside to get his stuff,” Gregory said.

City officials asked residents in areas prone to flooding to consider voluntary evacuations Thursday. As of 6 p.m. Friday evening, the evacuation shelter at Morgan Family Community Center on W. Price Blvd. remained empty. However, 8 On Your Side spoke with multiple families who decided to evacuate to higher ground.

Greg Dellapina has lived in the area for less than two years. He and his family were closely monitoring the water levels. When they woke up Friday morning to a significant increase, they decided it was time to leave.

“It’s scary. At first, it was kind of cool, but when it started coming up closer to the house, that’s when we gotta watch out for the little ones and do what we gotta do,” said Dellapina.

Charles Henson has lived in the area for about nine years. He is staying put at home for now but says he may evacuate if water levels rise another foot or two.

“If it gets really high on the driveway, then we will probably have to think about it, but I believe that we are going to be OK,” said Henson.

Several agencies from across the region are in North Port helping out. Crews from Charlotte County Fire and EMS took boats out on residential streets Friday morning. They were canvassing the area to see if anyone wanted or needed help.

North Port Fire Rescue Captain Dave Ingalls told us Friday morning, water levels are expected to peak in about two days.

“We are anticipating over the next 48 hours, the water is going to continue to rise. Some of those dangers that we are going to run into is people that don’t evacuate in a timely manner, we would have to go to them as the water gets deeper and obviously that increases the risk for us as well as them,” said Capt. Ingalls.

North Port resident Pam Lutz is worried about just how high the water could get near her home.

“According to the emergency people, it’s between about 38 to 40 inches over there right now,” Lutz said.

The city has opened a flood hotline. Residents can call 941-429-7169 with any flood-related questions, More information can be found at the City of North Port website.

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