Neighbors in one Punta Gorda neighborhood say it’s common to see inches of standing water on the road in front of Faith Lutheran Church every single time it rains.
“The roads flood really bad that you can’t even get through,” said church member Donna Harrelson.
Charlotte County confirms it’s a problem area that’s often prone to flooding.
“The roads are really low and people are just afraid because if you go off the road, you’re in a swell and you don’t know how deep they are,” Harrelson said.
With the weather turning nasty ahead of Subtropical Storm Alberto, neighbors say they’re concerned the storm will bring more than just heavy rains.
“Every time there’s a major rain, Rio Villa and Palm drive will be underwater…probably four inches of water on top of the road,” said Punta Gorda resident Al Chamberlin.
“With Irma we were closed for like four days because nobody could get through the roads at all,” Harrelson added.
Tara Mussleman with Charlotte County Public Works says crews spent the week clearing debris from swales and basins ahead of the storm. Musselman says the swales should be able to handle the four-to-six inches of rain expected over the weekend. But crews are on standby if they don’t.
“All the the vehicles are fueled and ready to go if needed. We also have barricades pre-loaded on trailers so that the crews when they get calls they can just hook right up and be out there to address any issues that we do have,” Musselman said.
MORE: Homeowners learn lessons about flood insurance coverage after Hurricane Irma
Ahead of storm season is a good time to review flood insurance policies. Check out helpful tips below on what to look for in insurance plans. Also, you can sign up for Charlotte County’s emergency alert system here.
1. Purchase policies and make all changes before or at the beginning of storm season. Some companies won’t let you make changes after a storm is threatening.
2. Most homeowners policies do not include coverage for flooding. If you are in a high-risk flood zone your mortgage carrier will likely require flood insurance. If you are in a low-risk area you should consider getting a flood insurance policy in conjunction with your homeowner’s policy.
3. Flood insurance policies may not contain content coverage, so your furniture, appliances, clothing and other possessions would not be covered. Check your policy and ask to add content coverage to have protection for these items.
4. Part-time residents may be able to save money on flood insurance policies by looking for coverage sold on the private market separate from the National Flood Insurance Program. Federally backed NFIP policies require an assessment fee for part-time residents where private policies do not.
5. Homeowner’s policies may not include coverage for pool cages, lanais and other outdoor room. Check your policy and ask about having this additional protection added.
6. In most policies, there is a separate hurricane deductible. Check yours to see what you will have to pay for hurricane damage before insurance kicks in.
7. Raising your deductible to save money every month could hurt you if you have major damage from a hurricane. A $10,000 deductible could mean you will have to pay to replace your entire roof out of pocket.
8. If you had a claim paid out from last storm season and have not yet made repairs, do those repairs before your policy renews. Insurance companies may choose not to renew a policy if repairs from an old claim have not been made.
9. Know how to access your insurance documents online and file a claim online. Insurance companies and agents were flooded with calls during Hurricane Irma. Getting a claim filed online can save you time and get your claim handled faster.
10. Keep all your policies and documents in one place that you can easily access or evacuate with if a storm threatens.