As Hurricane Ian battered the coastal communities of Southwest Florida, residents of this sleepy suburb thought they would be safe, away from the beaches and out of areas under evacuation orders. But the water levels continued to rise.
Since Ian’s passage, water levels have risen dramatically, turning roads into canals, reaching mailboxes, flooding vans and trucks, blocking the main access to an interstate highway, and leaving families trapped in waterlogged homes. Now, as the days go by, residents in North Point, a suburb of Sarasota, are beginning to run out of water and food.
“The water keeps rising. Who knows when it will stop,” said Samuel Almanzar, 42. He was rescued by emergency crews on Friday along with his father, his wife and his two sons, ages 11 and 6.
After rescue efforts were completed on Friday, local authorities advised residents of flooded neighborhoods to evacuate. They said that in some areas the waters will continue to rise for the next two days.
The flooding at North Point demonstrates that Ian’s impact was not limited to beaches and resort towns. Heavy rains from the storm have resulted in the flooding of suburban communities in the interior of the state that did not receive hurricane warnings.
The causes are the flooding of the rivers due to the floods of the hurricane, which continues to wreak havoc long after the winds have passed. And that has unleashed rescue operations similar to those seen in coastal communities.
Flooding was reported throughout the central strip of the state: Around Orlando and its amusement parks, south towards Kissimmee, east towards Daytona Beach. People living near the rivers were heavily affected.
Near North Point, the Florida Department of Transportation closed a stretch of Interstate 75 in both directions Friday night due to an overflow of the Myakka River.
Dozens of National Guardsmen arrived hours earlier Friday at North Point, which is about 85 miles (140 kilometers) south of Tampa, to speed up work that firefighters from other states and counties began Wednesday. And city authorities were rushing to open an evacuation center at a local high school.
Melissa Galbraith is the World News reporter for Globe Live Media. She covers all the major events happening around the World. From Europe to Americas, from Asia to Antarctica, Melissa covers it all. Never miss another Major World Event by bookmarking her author page right here.