Heavy rains trap Pinellas County residents in homes

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ST. PETE BEACH, Fla. (WFLA) – Several inches of rain have fallen in the Tampa Bay area over the past few days. As water levels rise in a St. Pete Beach neighborhood, so do residents’ frustrations.

“We are in the heart of hurricane season,” said Vincent Tormenia. “It’s very scary to know that this water is rising so fast here.”

Tormenia, a resident of St. Pete Beach, watched in awe as the water came in deeper and deeper on Saturday.

“The water rushed in,” Tormenia explained. “It started to fill the street and we couldn’t get out of our driveways.”

Waterlogged streets are more than just a nuisance to the people who live there – they have a direct impact on their lives, turning homes into islands.

“Yesterday I had an appointment,” said Jade Caswell. “I had to go out at 1 p.m. and I couldn’t get my car out.”

Caswell and his mother live in the community. They try to move their cars off the street on Gulf Boulevard whenever there is heavy rain in the forecast, but even the shoulder of the gulf gets flooded sometimes.

“Floods have always been there,” Caswell said. “But over the last five, ten years, it’s gotten a lot worse.”

Heights are a rare commodity.

“The streets are flooded,” said St. Pete Beach resident Jim. “You have a few inches of water in the streets when you have a high tide, [then a] combination of high tide and rain.

But during hurricane season, this combination could spell disaster.

“Even before the rain started, the water was backing up into the sewers, the storm drains, into the streets,” Jim said. “That was a problem for a while.”

This tide comes over the sea wall, a few meters from the front yards. Some community members criticize the city for not addressing drainage issues.

“They tried to fix it several times,” Tormenia said. “We have our assessment of our taxes over the past 12 years on this situation and it’s a nightmare that the people they hire don’t address the issue properly.”

Tormenia said the water could be up to her knees at some of her deepest points. He wants to dredge the bay to reduce the water level.

“It’s ridiculous, you know, that it’s not supported,” Tormenia said. 8 On Your Side has reached out to St. Pete Beach for comment, but has yet to hear back.

Caswell said she’s never been stuck in the water, but she knows plenty of people who have been.

“They put a sign at the end of the block,” Tormenia said. “But it doesn’t seem to matter because people here and they’re stuck.”

While most of the waters receded within hours of the rain, locals say all you have to do is wait – the flooding will repeat tomorrow.

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