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Cape Coral rains

By Staff | Aug 29, 2017

People paddling along flooded streets in kayaks, abandoned partially-submerged vehicles scattered across the city and residential boats docks that vanished under the rising canal waters.

All were found in Cape Coral over the weekend as a tropical disturbance moved over the area.

The National Weather Service reported on Tuesday that approximately 13 inches of rain fell in some areas of the city, with an expected 10 inches to 15 inches of rainfall to be recorded for the region.

“There were reports of flooding,” meteorologist Paul Close said. “Street flooding and stuff.”

Cape officials reported that the rain figures may be higher.

“Certainly, some areas saw 20 inches of rain,” Jesse Spearo, the emergency management division manager for the Cape Coral Fire Department, said Tuesday. “There are some areas that possibly saw up to 30 inches of rainfall over the weekend.”

However, no tornados or water spouts were reported locally as part of the disturbance.

“There were some water spouts in different places, but there were none down there,” Close said.

He predicted a return to “more typical” summer weather in the coming days.

“With scattered, mainly, afternoon and evening storms,” Close said.

“Not so wet, not so cloudy,” he added. “More sun.”

Today is forecasted to be mainly dry, as temperatures return to the low to mid 90s. Thursday could be wetter with a 30 percent chance of rain, followed by a 60 percent chance on Friday and Saturday.

Over the weekend, the city did not receive any major calls for service or life-safety issues.

“For the most part, the citizens of Cape Coral stayed away from a lot of the flooded areas,” Spearo said.

In its final update, released Monday at about 6 p.m., the Cape Coral Police Department reported that there were very few minor injuries and marginal private property damage as a result of the storm.

Officials noted that most of the property damage occurred to public infrastructure.

“We are currently still undertaking our damage assessments,” Spearo said.

Affected infrastructure included roadways, weirs and berms.

“We are trying to identify where flood waters have impacted those,” he said.

As of Tuesday evening, the area of Chiquita Boulevard and Trafalgar Parkway was open and the signal was being repaired. Only one north-south lane had been operational, with the east-west traffic closed.

Burnt Store Road is also open to through traffic following the cancellation of a detour.

Lee County Electric Cooperative reported no major outages in the Cape.

“Our system held up really well,” spokeswoman Karen Ryan said. “Most of the lines are up in the air, so everything held up really really well.”

She noted that there were a few isolated outages, but that is typical with heavy storms.

As for private property, no homes were flooded due to the disturbance.

“Some homes did see some inundation due to the flood waters,” Spearo said. “There was the threat, but we didn’t get any calls for actual flooding – no flood water or standing water in homes.”

Officials reported that is could take days for standing water to recede in areas.

“There’s still standing water in certain parts of the city. It will take a while for runoff to occur and absorption to occur,” he said. “Be patient and be cognizant of your surroundings.”

The public is warned to avoid playing in the water.

“There is health risk associated with standing water, including injury from snakes or floating insects, as well as illness from contaminated water,” the CCPD reported in its last update. “If you come into contact with flood water, thoroughly rinse any exposed body parts with soap and clean water to reduce the chance of illness.”

As the water dissipates, potholes are becoming visible on Cape streets.

“The city will be working to repair these as quickly as possible,” the CCPD reported. “Please stay alert and avoid the potholes. Some of these can be quite large, and we don’t want you to get injured or your car to be damaged.”

To report a pothole, call 311 between 7:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Spearo noted that mosquitoes are another concern with the standing water.

“We expect there to be an increase of mosquitoes,” he said.

The city will work on a plan with the Lee County Mosquito Control District in the coming days.

On Tuesday, Lee County public schools and the Cape’s charter schools resumed classes.

Officials pointed out that the peak of hurricane season is not until September.

“We still have not reached the peak,” Spearo said. “Have a plan, make a kit and be informed.”

He also suggested that homeowners review their insurance policy.

“It’s certainly a good thing to add, even if it’s not mandatory,” Spearo said.