VALRICO, Fla. (FOX 13) - Heavy rain overnight caused major flooding across parts of the Bay Area Thursday.
In Valrico near the Alafia River, high water left some residents stranded, including a portion of River Drive where the water is about 3-feet-deep in some places. According to the National Weather Service, part of the Alafia River hit 14.7-feet Thursday.
FOX 13 reporter Kellie Cowan witnessed at least one vehicle become stuck in the high water. Another neighbor decided to paddle through the water in his kayak.
Francis Rodriguez said he wasn't going to let high water get in the way of his morning jog. The motivated runner explained that he is used to dealing with street flooding when it rains.
“13 feet is about, maybe 6 inches of flood on the road, and right now we're at about 14.5, which puts it a little bit higher up, so by then if you haven’t moved your car, your car’s a loss,” Rodriguez said.
Many neighbors had a good attitude about the flooding, using canoes and small boats to get to and from their homes. In other spots across the Bay Area, residents were a bit more disrupted by the morning’s heavy rains.
“I woke up to a neighbor banging on my door saying, ‘It’s flooded, you gotta go,” Nicole Ferrer recalled.
She lives in Mariner’s Cover Mobile Home Park in Clearwater. The mom had to wade through the deep floodwaters on foot to get her daughter to school.
“I had to carry her on my shoulders because I didn’t want her to get her new clothes because we got new clothes for school,” Ferrer said.
In St. Petersburg, Northside Christian School closed for the day after the campus flooded and water seeped into some of the buildings.
“We didn’t feel it was safe to have the children in the classrooms, and although it only affected a small percentage of our classrooms, we wanted to err on the side of caution,” said Tessa Madasz, the school’s director of advancement.
And down in Bradenton, residents of the Sunset Village Mobile Home Park are counting their blessings no one was hurt after a massive tree collapsed, destroying a family’s home. The owner suspects the saturated ground played a role.
“When it collapsed, it came through the roof, it took a wall out to my bathroom, took the toilet off and busted the water line, so water ran through the house for about 6-7 hours before I actually shut it off in there,” homeowner Dan Gunderman said.