Sarasota deals with deluge of rainwater - FOX 13 News

Sarasota deals with deluge of rainwater

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Sarasota County suffered through a real soak on Tuesday, with some portions of the county seeing six inches of rainfall.

The Azure Road neighborhood in South Venice flooded with stormwater, leaving some residents stranded inside their homes.

"I waded out there earlier to get the mail today. It's about eight inches deep now," resident Neal Card said Tuesday.

Homeowners weren't the only ones sweating out the storm. The City of Sarasota's Utilities Department worked around the clock to help relieve its overwhelmed wastewater system.

Normally, the city's wastewater treatment plant handles about five million gallons of wastewater per day.

On Tuesday, crews saw nearly six times that amount, with nearly 30 million gallons of water flushing through their system. Three-thousand gallon tanker trucks were deployed to points around the city to help pump out excess water from stressed pipes.

"They're really at their max, they're at about all they can handle right now," Sarasota Utilities Director Mitt Tidwell said Tuesday.

The flooding meant life of death for one neighborhood dog. Bonnie Henderson says she heard a dog crying overnight. When she woke up and still heard the noise, she went outside to find the dog stuck underneath her backyard deck.

Stormwater was inching close to the top of the hole where the dog was stuck inside. Firefighters from the Englewood Fire Department helped rescue the dog, just in time.

"They were sticking a shovel in as far as the shovel will go. And finally they saw little green eyes peering back," Henderson said.

The dog was fine and was returned to its owners today.

Sarasota Utilities crews are on call throughout Tuesday night to continue to pump wastewater overflow areas.

From FOX 13's Stef DiPietrantonio:

Storm drain overflow is up in Sarasota, threatening to flood neighborhoods like the one near the corner of Alta Vista and Lincoln Avenues.

But the city is pumping out the excess and taking it away to a treatment plant.

On a regular day, the system handles about six million gallons. But right now, it's under water, handling about 27 million gallons.

On Ringling Boulevard, just east of St. Armand's Circle, there's not much roadway left in view --  just plenty of water.

"We've had a lot of rain and there's nowhere to go," said Joe Robinson with Sarasota County.

Plenty of people are plowing right through it without stopping.

Robinson said fire-rescue agencies countywide are hopping.

"A lot of medical calls today...all of our trucks are out of Station 7 already as they are in most of the county," Robinson said. "So we're busy."

Deanna Renda just opened the Naples Soap Company just a few weeks ago, and she doesn't want to see her new store wash away.

"Yesterday, we got video from our manager of water that was ponding and pooling all the way up," Renda said. "You can't prepare that quickly for the flooding," she lamented.

So she and her husband brought a truckload of sandbags up from Naples to place in front of the store, hoping they can hold off any possible flooding.

"There's a whole pallet there on the back of the truck. You can see where the water is drifting up on the ground, where all the debris has washed in on some of the higher areas. But we're not gonna actually sandbag yet, but all the way from Naples up, there's so much water and the height is incredible," she said. 

Roofers are benefiting from the constant deluge, however. Leaks that might not be evident in smaller, fast-moving storms, are becoming more apparent the longer the rains linger.

"Leaks are popping up everywhere," said Joshua Kilgore with Springer-Peterson Roofing. "We've been to three places today and the day isn't even over."


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