Record rainfall causes severe damage to Central Fla. neighborhoods

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CENTRAL FLORIDA,None - Much of Central Florida is trying to clean up on Monday after two days of record rainfall, high winds and heavy flooding.  

  • In Marion County, pumps were supposed to protect Ocala from flooding, but the weekend storms proved to be the worst flooding that residents have seen in 30 years. 

Earlier in the day, the water was just below the mail boxes in the center of the neighborhood on NE 4th Street.

Josephine Nune waded out of her Ocala home to talk to WFTV. Her Heritage Hills neighborhood was flooded Monday morning when a pump station failed and a city retention pond overflowed its banks.

"There's nothing we can do. Everything in our house is completely damaged," said Nune.      


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By 6:00a.m., Nune said her truck was already flooded.

"This is the kids' room. Everything is destroyed everything is everywhere," Nune said.

"The whole living room is completely covered in water."

Nune may have to cover her losses herself. She said she rents the home and does not have renter's insurance.

The city estimates that 10 to 15 homes in the neighborhood were also flooded.

"Mother nature hit us with a wallop that we couldn't handle. It completely overwhelmed the system in Heritage Hills," said city of Ocala spokesman Sonny Allen.

The pump station keeps storm water in a retention pond and away from homes.

But this weekend, two inches of rain fell, and then suddenly between midnight and 5:00 a.m. on Monday, the area got another four inches.

The large amount of rainfall shorted out the pump and the homes next door flooded.

Three portable pumps were brought in to try to drain some of the water.

 The city's risk management team began to assess the damage, although the city of Ocala could not tell WFTV if it would bear any of the costs in what's bound to be a costly clean up.

"The house is ruined, it's finished," Nune said.

The Red Cross is helping nine families with housing and food.

  • In Brevard County on Monday, residents and authorities surveyed the damage from the weekend's stormy weather, and some homeowners said they were trying to cope with how their homes looked and smelled.

In west Cocoa, four families spent the night in a hotel courtesy of the Red Cross after water started seeping into some of their homes. Water started receding on Monday from the Victor Road neighborhood.

"We got worms floating around. Worms, everything," said resident Tara Jones.

Jones returned to her west Cocoa home to see how it fared after a second night of torrential downpours.

The Red Cross put her and a few of her neighbors in a hotel after water started seeping into their homes. Jones said the water  got above her ankles in part of the house.

"I can't stay here.  I'm going to have to move.  This is not living conditions," Jones said. 

Jones said the water seeped in from a drainage ditch behind their homes, and they tried calling the county before it was too late. 

Many residents said they felt helpless.

 "We kind of feel like the victims of Katrina because no one came to help," said Kendra Martino.

There was so much water behind their homes that residents said it was hard to tell where the ditch actually was.

Even though the water has gone down, the homes were left with a strong, musty smell.

"It smells like a dead body," Jones said.

Residents who didn't get water in their homes said they were stuck in them because they didn't think their vehicles could get through the water safely.

  •  In Volusia County, high winds from the storm toppled trees and damaged an abandoned store in Ormond Beach along A-1-A just south of Grenada Boulevard.

It was around 2:00 a.m. in the Pinewood mobile home park when residents said the worst of it came through and strong winds brought the tree toppling down on top of a trailer.

"There was boom and my whole room just shook. Everything was shaking," said resident David Jones.

A shed next to the home took the brunt of the force.  Inside the trailer, residents said the wall bowed but didn't cave.  The four people that were inside the home, made it out safely.

Jones said he went outside and saw an aluminum shed flying through the air.

"Picked it up and then just kind of teetered and then it just completely picked it up and blew it over and crashed it in my backyard out there," Jones said.

Five miles away along A-1-A, the wind tore off the front of an old abandoned beach store, sending glass and metal flying across the parking lot.

In Port Orange, police shut down a one-mile section of Halifax Drive when rising river waters climbed over the sea wall.  By Monday afternoon, the water receded and the road opened back up.

All across Volusia County people were working to clean up the mess. Some residents said the weekend storms were the worst the area has seen since 2004.

"I lost my place to Charley and since then, this is about the wildest weather I've seen since Charley," said Jones.

  • Power crews worked around the clock to restore electricity to thousands of customers throughout Central Florida on Monday.

Currently, 10,000 FP&L customers in Volusia County do not have power, and another 3,000 are without power in Brevard and Flagler Counties.

Progress Energy said it has about 3,500 customers in Marion County who still don't have power.

FP&L said it called in crews from around the state to help restore electricity.