Szerlag updates council on flooding issues due to rain
Between Friday and Monday, the city’s Emergency Operations Center was activated to address flooding and other issues associated with the unprecedented weekend rain event during which up to 20 inches of rain reportedly fell in parts of Cape Coral.
City Manager John Szerlag told City Council Monday night that city fire and police coordinated their resources through the EOC on Friday with 40 people staffing the center. They kept in touch with the National Weather Service, Department of Transportation and the South Florida Water Management District and other agencies throughout the weekend to plot a course of action.
“With that much rain it is a testament to the effectiveness of the stormwater system we have in Cape Coral,” said Szerlag. “At one point, 50 percent of the city’s 3,000 miles of roadways had standing water. Today it is mostly gone. The intersection of Chiquita and Trafalgar is still closed.”
The city’s final flooding update on Tuesday stated that roads are clearing, but the standing water is expected for the next few days. It urged the public to continue using caution when driving.
Marginal damage to private property and no major life safety issues or injuries have been reported.
One lane of the Chiquita at Trafalgar intersection was open in the north-south direction Tuesday, but east-west remained closed. A detour on Burnt Store Road between Gulfstream and Durden parkways remains in effect for another day or two.
Szerlag said numerous potholes reported throughout the city are being repaired as quickly as possible.
“This was a primary infrastructure event,” Szerlag said. “I want to thank (Public Works Director) Paul (Clinghan) for doing such a good job this weekend. Repairs to roadways, weirs and berms have already begun.”
Cape Coral Charter School System was told not to open on Monday. Both the Charter and Lee County public schools reopened Tuesday.
Szerlag continued to urge the public not to play or wade in standing water as there are health risks associated with it, such as contamination by chemicals or septic systems, sharp objects, snakes and insects.