The City of North Port is dealing with major flooding and wreckage in the aftermath of Hurricane Ian, with first responders working to rescue people who are trapped in their homes.
Some residents were using small boats, rafts and kayaks to make their way through flooded roads. In Holiday Park, a mobile home community, hundreds of homes were destroyed, with photos showing roofs ripped off, windows broken and debris everywhere.
"This is not something we've ever seen before," North Port city manager Jerome Fletcher said during a briefing on Thursday afternoon. "We know a lot of you are scared. Please stay off the streets and make sure you're safe."
Crews from everywhere are out getting people out. Water continues to rise. Be patient. We’re coming. pic.twitter.com/lVsI0oTPId— North Port Police (@NorthPortPolice) September 30, 2022
For those who have been forced to leave their homes, the American Red Cross has opened a shelter at Woodland Middle School, 2700 Panacea Blvd. If you go, bring bedding, clothing, food, water and medicine. Cats or dogs must be in crates. Here are the necessities you should bring to a shelter.
PLEASE SHARE! Turn around, don't drown!! We've had multiple reports of vehicles being submerged. Roads impacted are rapidly changing - one that was dry yesterday may have water today. North Port continues to be in a "red zone" for driving. Stay home and keep the roadways clear. pic.twitter.com/FwgxTeyJJB— North Port, Florida (@CityofNorthPort) September 30, 2022
"It's devastating to see the damage," North Port mayor Pete Emrich said, adding that he'd been in contact with Gov. Ron DeSantis and state Rep. James Buchanan about the need for funding and personnel. "We want to be able to save people in need."
The city has implemented overnight curfews, from 8 p.m.-6 a.m., in an attempt to keep people off the roads and allow access for emergency vehicles. A boil-water advisory is also in effect.
"This was a very strong Category 4 storm with 155 mph winds," North Port emergency manager Michael Ryan said. "A Category 5 is 157 mph. That gives you an idea of the impact this city took."