NORTH PORT — Emergency crews Friday plucked Greg and Chantelle Dellapina, their two young children and Noodle, their dog, from the natural moat surrounding their North Port home.
“Couldn’t be here another two days,” Chantelle Dellapina said as invading rainwater threatened her Hackley Road home in the North Port Estates. “Not with two small kids.”
That rescue off Tropicaire Boulevard could define the next few days: moderate showers and thunderstorms are predicted for Saturday and Sunday. And the National Weather Service had issued a flood warning for south Sarasota County that is to stay in effect until 2:30 p.m. Saturday.
A deluge of sheeting water overran sections along the Myakkahatchee Creek, a natural flood basin snaking through North Port, eventually to the Gulf of Mexico.
Emergency workers from Charlotte and Sarasota counties came together in the morning as the Region 6 Strike Force to help out North Port residents.
North Port offered shelter Friday at the Morgan Family Community Center. That option remains through the weekend. The Morgan Center is at 6207 W. Price Blvd.
“We’re keeping an eye on things,” spokesperson Josh Taylor on Friday said. “But it’s anybody’s guess … to some extent.”
City officials in a repurposed Florida Forest Service truck assessed Lady Slipper Avenue and its nearby streets, for instance. Based on positioning and some luck, those roads were dry … or submerged 3 and 4 feet deep.
The water was not standing, however, but slid quickly toward the Myakka River.
While North Port has elaborate canals, sloughs, ditches and retention ponds, millions of gallons of water from DeSoto and Manatee counties will overhelm that system, especially in North Port Estates north of Interstate 75, where stormwater drains don’t exist.
Robert Thompson portrayed a calmness on Friday. His 3.5-acre spread on Buckboard Road had escaped flooding. Neighbors just streets over weren’t as lucky, however, some evacuated by airboat, he said.
After 21 years on Buckboard and one serious flood in the mid-2000s, Thompson considered himself fortunate.
“I’m praying, please don’t let it rain like that again,” he said. “We’d like to be back to our normal life.”
Jessica Foltz, a resident in the unincorporated area between Venice and North Port just off U.S. 41, witnessed flooding late Tuesday night into Wednesday afternoon.
“The drainage in the neighborhood is awful,” Foltz said.
Living near the Myakka River, Foltz said their area began flooding late that night. She said the water was shin-to-knee deep, but saw no damage to the neighborhood.
Foltz said flooding typically happens depending on when and how a storm approaches. Usually if it floods, the water goes back down after 12 hours, she said.
She mentioned how much money her neighbors put into their homes as a result of the high waters.
While Foltz tries to plan around the high floods by parking away from the street, she said sometimes she can’t leave for work and must wait until the water lowers.
“It’s frustrating,” Foltz said.