KISSIMMEE, Fla. – Evacuation orders were issued Saturday for some neighborhoods in the Kissimmee, Florida, area as rivers and creeks swell from the heavy rain produced by Hurricane Ian days earlier.
Ian came ashore Wednesday in Southwest Florida as a monstrous Category 4 hurricane with 150-mph winds. The storm tore diagonally through Florida on Thursday, dumping tremendous amounts of rain which led to flash floods across central parts of the state.
Even as the initial floodwaters receded, all the rain that couldn’t soak into the ground ran off into nearby streams and rivers. Those waterways are now topping their banks, renewing the flooding threat for Central Florida.
In Osceola County, more than a foot of water has already spilled into some communities, prompting both mandatory and voluntary evacuation orders. Officials said about 300 people had to be rescued by boat on Friday, and they are worried that waters could rise another two feet before they crest Oct. 5.
FOX Weather multimedia journalist Katie Byrne was embedded with the National Guard on Saturday as they went door-to-door in a Kissimmee-area neighborhood, urging them to heed evacuation orders.
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"It’s going to get so bad that eventually, we won’t be able to get here if they have an emergency and call 911," one guardsman told Byrne.
One family that took advantage of the National Guard’s assistance said they were using marks on their driveway to keep track of the water levels.
"Probably like 2 hours ago, when we saw that, you know, it had gone up, probably more than a foot. We’re just going to leave just in case," one of the family members said.
According to the FOX Forecast Center, several rivers in Florida have already broken their all-time highest level records. Among them, the St. Johns River which flows through Central Florida.