Osceola County ready for floods and high-water rescues
Osceola County leaders said at a press conference on Tuesday that they are ready for high water rescues this storm season.
Last year, during Hurricane Ian, Osceola County was hit with 19 inches of rain, displacing thousands of people from their flood-damaged homes.
The County did not have the proper equipment to conduct rescues. Now, it does, Osceola Sheriff Marcos Lopez said.
"We learned. We actually acquired two high water rescue vehicles, the five-ton type vehicles that the National Guard uses," Lopez said. "And we have them ready to go in case we do have any type of flooding issues in the area."
Hurricane Idalia is expected to bring much less rain than Ian. Based on the forecast for Idalia, St. Cloud Mayor Nathan Blackwell said, leaders expect the city's storm water system to more than adequately handle the water.
For those in flood-prone areas, pumps are ready to be deployed.
"We hope that it will not be necessary, but we're ready," the mayor said.
Blackwell also said all city business will be conducted as regularly scheduled, except for the city's waste management pick up, which has been suspended until next Wednesday, Sep. 6.
Commissioner Viviana Janer said the county is under a tropical storm warning. For now, she said, shelters will not open, although they are standing by. She also said county schools, businesses, and county buildings will all remain open during regular hours throughout the storm.
Janer said Sandbag distribution is ongoing at 1211 Shake Rag Road in Kissimmee and that tolls have been waived on the Osceola Parkway and Florida's Turnpike.
Lillian Hernández Caraballo is a Report for America corps member.