During a news conference held at the St. Cloud Police Department on Sunday, officials shared that floodwaters related to Hurricane Ian continue to rise in the St. Cloud area, including East Lake Toho and the St. Cloud Canal, and have been displacing some residents in a number of areas.
“We have police in high water vehicles assisting those who need help getting out of their neighborhoods. We have posted information on social media and have done reverse 9-1-1 calls to impacted residents. Those calls are continuing throughout the afternoon and the city is fully prepared to respond to this situation and assist our residents,” St. Cloud City Manager Veronica Miller said during the news conference.
City staff and volunteers have also been going door to door to notify residents and offer any assistance they need in evacuating. The city is currently operating in Blackberry, Pemberly Pines, Summer Cove, Sugar Mill, Jade Isle, Savannah Park and Edgewater, and will be in St. Cloud Village and Soleil Blue later today, as well as the state streets area near East Lake Toho.
“At this time, we are unaware of any water intrusion into houses, but some streets are flooded,” Mayor Nathan Blackwell shared. “ Our Police Department is out with high water vehicles helping with evacuations, and we ask anyone who needs special assistance to call 911.”
The St. Cloud area has received roughly 17 inches of rain during Hurricane Ian, and the city has been notified that an outflow north of East Lake Toho was vandalized overnight, causing local water levels to rise faster than anticipated.
According to St. Cloud officials, the city is working closely with the South Florida Water Management District and the US Army Corps of Engineers to mitigate the anticipated flooding as quickly as possible.
A voluntary evacuation order was issued Sunday morning for Blackberry Creek and Pemberly Pines, which are both on the west side of Brown Chapel Road near St. Thomas Aquinas Church.
City Manager Miller said that they expect the water to crest after past the four days that was mention at a county EOC news conference on Saturday, as the models continue to change.
St. Cloud’s sandbag distribution site is open from 8am – 7pm and will be until no longer necessary, and Osceola Heritage Park is currently functioning as a shelter for anyone who voluntarily evacuates due to rising flood water.