Sarasota County crews and residents prepare for potential flooding from Dorian

Sarasota County crews and residents prepare for potential flooding from Dorian
Sarasota County crews and residents prepare for potential flooding from Dorian (Source: Taylor Torregano)

SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - Ahead of Dorian, some residents are gearing up in case the Suncoast sees severe flooding.

Sarasota County’s stormwater crews are, too.

Public Works Storm Water Operations Manager Harold Roebuck said most of the flooding in Sarasota County is because of clogged drains, so the two VAC-trucks they have are crucial to the storm preparations.

The VAC-trucks have tubes that drop down into the inlets and can suck up any debris that would cause the flooding once the rain hits. Crews said they find everything from basketballs and other kids toys to trash cans and yard waste clogging these drains.

“It’s amazing how a bunch of leaves, especially pine needles and things like that will clog up a storm drain and just totally block it off," said Roebuck.

This is why they said it’s so important that residents secure all of their yard debris and trash now, before it’s too late.

“Just be prepared," said Roebuck. "This might be a rain event, this might be a wind event.”

Seventy-two hours before the storm, Roebuck said his 50 crewmembers will hit the hot spots. They’ve divided Sarasota County into eight sections and each one has anywhere from 30 to 50 hot spots that are potential problem areas when it comes to flooding.

“Midnight Pass is basically the worst problem," said Scott Penxa

He works at Siesta Key Chapel and said their two hot spots are Midnight Pass and Ocean Boulevard.

“Getting here sometimes is very difficult because you have to drive down the middle of the road through Ocean Blvd and it’s tough when you’ve got traffic coming one way and us coming the other way," Penxa explained.

The church said it can’t do much to prepare for the imminent flooding, but it is ready in case Siesta Key is hit with hurricane force winds and rain.

“We just do the best we can, but during a hurricane we have shutters on all the doors and windows so we let them all down and get prepared, prepare for the worst,” Penxa said.

Crews with the County won’t start drain inspections until Friday, but right now they’re prepping their smaller equipment. This includes things like chainsaws that will help cut downed trees in case the storm hits hard enough that they’re needed.

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