North Port flooding: Child rescued from water, drivers pulled from cars, water still rising

Reporter: Justin Kase Writer: Jack Lowenstein
Published: Updated:
Floodwater covers a neighborhood street in North Port days after the outer bands of Tropical Storm/Hurricane Elsa brought storms to the region while it moved up the coast of Southwest Florida in July 2021. Credit: WINK News.

North Port Police Department responded to a child with special needs Friday who was landlocked in deep floodwaters that were caused by Elsa.

Rescue crews took the child to a local facility to escape the flooding, as water continued to rise overnight in North Port. It could still take days for it to go back down.

We were on Sumter Boulevard and Hablow Lane, where flooding was higher than the night before.

About a half-dozen cars were stuck, and police had to get drivers out.

Most neighbors we spoke to said they were staying at home as long as they could, but they have backup plans.

Patricia Henson’s family put a metal stake next to their driveway Thursday night, marking where the floodwaters touched. Less than 24 hours later, the water rose up their driveway another 2 feet.

“It’s kind of scary because, I don’t know, if it gets even worse, you know, we haven’t been able to get out, so if it keeps getting up higher, we’ll probably have to get a boat,” Henson said.

Thursday, we spoke to Joe Morningstar as he filled sandbags to protect his home.

“It’s coming in quicker and faster,” Morningstar told WINK News.

We tried getting to Morningstar’s property Friday, but the roads were too flooded.

“My family is leaving tomorrow or maybe even tonight,” Morningstar said. “We’ve already rented an Airbnb.”

Morningstar is staying at his home as long as he can to protect it from the water.

Nearby, police had to rescue a special needs child whose home was surrounded by water. Neighbors are praying everyone stays safe.

“We just feel that it’s in God’s hands now,” Dante Garcia said. “You know, we’ve done everything we can.”

Dante and Syd Garcia had their horses transported off their property after the water kept rising.

“Later that day, there’s more water. Then, the next day, there’s even more water. It never stopped,” Dante said.

They’re thankful for their neighbors who have helped them through this uncertain time.

Melissa Bausman is thankful too. She would like to thank the people who helped her and her husband fill up their sandbags.

“People were helping shovel and filling up bags for other people,” Bausman said. “It was really nice to see people pitching in like that.”

“That’s what I’ve heard about this community is that, when something happens like that, people look out for each other,” Dante said.

Neighbors also said they’re very concerned about trash floating around their community. They said the flooding wasn’t bad after Elsa passed, so many of their neighbors put out their trash and recycling. But as the floodwaters rose, they say much of that trash was picked up by the water, and they’re unsure how long it will take to pick up the mess left behind.

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