Lakeland residents want help with flooding

- Tropical Storm Emily put a hit on western Polk County, flooding one family from their home. The water at some spots was over 18 inches

"It fills up really, really fast, as you can see," said Claudia Garcia, whose neighbor ran from their home on Monday morning. "They have a newborn, so imagine, they had to carry that kid out."

Neighbors were left to wade through all afternoon as the water seemed to stand still, well after the worst of the downpour was over.

"They have to stay somewhere else because they can't get back into their house," said Garcia.

Courtney Jewell says it's a continual battle to keep the home she grew up in from flooding.

"Catch everything and tie it down, that is all you can do."

Neighbors claim the drainage ditches are jammed with debris.

"They have to come and make sure that there is a drain where all this water can run into," said Garcia.

But county officials say the stormwater system is largely clear, that what's happening around Kelly Ave. is the result of a saturated ground from weeks of rain, followed by a sudden and persistent downpour.

"I woke up to this, I was not expecting a tropical storm or anything," said Jewell.

The water receded throughout the evening. Beyond some furniture and floor damage, the worst was avoided. The real worry is not even necessarily the next time, but rather, the big one.

"Every time it rains, when it rains all day, it gets like this," said Garcia. "All these properties back here they get really flooded. Imagine when hurricane season comes and it starts raining for one or two weeks straight."

County officials say they will closely monitor the area.

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