Tuesday marks two years since floods trapped homeowners and filled the streets along Island Park in south Fort Myers.
Now, with Tropical Storm Dorian just days away, homeowners are getting ready for the possibility of another flooding nightmare.
The flood waters overwhelmed Island Park Road at the time. Cheryl and Chuck Beckert remember it well. “We actually signed our contract here on August 25th, we woke up the 26th and found a foot of water outside.”
The couple had just moved to the area from Ohio. They were not prepared to ride out a major rain event, then Hurricane Irma, in their first two weeks in what they thought was the Sunshine State.
“This was a totally different experience for us. We had chimneys that completely collapsed on buildings,” they said.
Since their house is elevated, they didn’t experience any flood damage. But their neighbors, Suanne and Al Gotsch, weren’t so lucky.
“We had water in the houses ranging from four feet to 12 inches. They had to get water out of the houses and then they had to cut up all the walls four feet high,” said Suanne Gotsch.
So with the threat of Tropical Storm Dorian, are Island Parks homeowners concerned history will repeat itself?
“There’s always concerns,” said Gotsch, “but what we have to do is just be proactive and if there’s going to be a lot of rain, we just have to protect our house.”
Both couples, who also serve as president on their respective HOAs, say the improvements they’ve made to their community give them confidence for the next major storm.
They said the county sent crews out to dig deeper swales along Island Park Road and saw them dredging up the Ten Mile Canal- two improvements they hope reduce the potential for flooding.