“How do you fight water?” Volusia neighborhood cleared after historic flooding – Central Florida News – Storms
Most of Mellisa Kipp’s possessions were destroyed due to flooding from Hurricane Ian. Photo: Brendan Byrne/WMFE
SOUTH DAYTONA, Fla. – A neighborhood in Volusia County is cleaning up after floodwaters from Hurricane Ian surged into homes after record rainfall inundated the area.
A generator operates behind Mellisa Kipp’s home in South Daytona, powering dehumidifiers and fans. Most of his furniture is on the sidewalk – destroyed as knee-high floodwaters poured into his house early Thursday morning.
“We noticed the toilet was starting to back up, and we were trying to get it, then it started going up into the garage where it was leaking through a back door, that was still good,” she said. declared. “Then about an hour later I had to walk into my room, and it was just splashing, splashing, water was literally seeping through.”
After the water receded a few hours after the storm, Kipp immediately began ripping up carpets to try to prevent any mold. She was able to get her clothes back, but most of what she owns is out of the house, moving from her living room to the dump.
She keeps telling herself that things could have been worse and that at least she is safe.
“When we started packing yesterday, I didn’t participate in it much because it just started to hit me. It’s very moving because you work very hard for everything you own. And then I see everyone. They literally tear everything out and start over,” says Kipp.
“It’s definitely going to be a process, but I just tried to look at the positives because if I don’t I won’t do anything. It’s hard.”
Kip is not alone. Trash piles line the curbs of his South Daytona neighborhood with tree debris. Chainsaws roar and generators hum as the neighborhood cleans up after the storm. Most people here are still without electricity.
Kipp’s neighbor Ron Kramer says the canal behind his house and the storm sewer in front have both backed up, meeting in the middle – his house.
“Anything that touched the ground and could absorb water, did,” he said. “We tried to save as much as possible. But it is water. How to fight against water?
Both Kramer and Kipp said they had never seen such flooding in their neighborhood. And despite efforts to prepare for the storm, like sandbags, the water still came in.
After Hurricane Ian’s historic rainfall, areas of central Florida are still grappling with floodwaters days after the storm hit. In Osceola County, officials expect lakes and streams to continue to rise throughout the week, up to two feet, as water pours in from other counties.
The Red Cross has opened a shelter in Volusia County for those in need of housing, including flood victims, at the Ocean Center.
And help from the federal government is coming. FEMA is providing individual assistance to those affected by Hurricane Ian – Volusia joins Orange, Osceola, Seminole and Polk counties in eligibility. This assistance may include temporary housing, home repairs, and other uninsured disaster-related needs.
At Volusia, Emergency Manager Jim Judge says that now that the county is eligible, individuals can apply online or contact the county for assistance, such as at libraries.
As counties like Volusia continue recovery efforts, some lawmakers are calling for better planning as climate change continues to increase the frequency and severity of storms like Ian.
“I think resilience has to be built into rebuilding,” said Republican Congressman Mike Waltz, whose district includes parts of Volusia County.
“I served on the Science, Space and Technology Subcommittee where we engaged organizations like NIST, NOAA and others to ensure resilience is built into our planning and built into our infrastructure.”
While long-term solutions aim to fix future problems, residents like Mellisa Kipp focus on recovering short-term pieces.
“We are staying with a friend and will probably stay there for a while. I’m pretty sure at least a month if not more, but I don’t know what else to do. You know, it’s one of those things.