Historic Floods In Lee County Slowly Recede

Aug 30, 2017

Historic floods are slowly receding in South Fort Myers after they caused more than 200 people to evacuate. A tropical disturbance in the Gulf of Mexico this past weekend caused torrential rain for days in Southwest Florida. 

The San Carlos Fire District said water levels peaked Monday on Island Park Road at US 41 with about four feet of floodwater.

"This came as a complete shock to 20-plus-year veterans of this department," said Alexis Rothring, with the fire district.

She said this flooding happened after days of rain dumped into the surrounding Mullet Creek and 10-Mile Canal, which both then overflowed. Rothring said the fire district rescued more than 200 people who voluntarily evacuated from the neighborhoods off Island Park Road. She said it took about 50 people from across Lee County, and five fire trucks for the whole operation.

Residents of the Royal Woods neighborhood.
Credit Alex Molnar

"People called into our station, they said that they needed some assistance getting out, and we just ran our large brush trucks like buses pulling people out of those areas and to safety," said Rothring.

One of the residents rescued was Alex Molnar who lives in the Royal Woods community. He described what he saw on Monday:

"There used to be a canal behind us and it has come all the way up to the level of the condos and it goes straight across all the way past what used to be the lake and the pool all the way up to the road," said Molnar. "It’s one solid flat view of water."

Molnar and his wife live in a second floor condominium, safe from flooding. But both their cars were under water and they did not want to be stuck there. He said the surrounding homes and villas had it much worse.

Rothring, with San Carlos Fire District, warns residents to avoid contact with the floodwaters. 

"It contains bacteria, petroleum and waste products," she said. "It's very dangerous to get into the water. If you do have to enter water for rescue or leaving the area, we encourage you to clean with soap and water after exiting the water."

Rothring said Tuesday the flooding only went down a few inches. The district expects Island Park Road to be accessible again by Friday.