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Thursday, October 20, 2011

Rainfall Record Burdens Residents with Flooding

A torrential downpour late Tuesday that caused flooding in parts of Lee and Collier counties and broke a rainfall record from 1959 should give way to a dry, sunny remainder of the week, with lows lingering in the 50s.

Officials in the county will continue to keep an eye on the flow of surface water — or sheet flow — from saturated areas, especially in North Fort Myers and Cape Coral, as it makes its way south from Charlotte County.

Tuesday marked the wettest day of the year so far and saw more rainfall than any previous Oct. 18 on record, cracking the 52-year-old record, said WINK meteorologist Scott Zedeker.

“(Today) we’ll deal with some clouds but no real rain,” Zedeker said. “It looks like we’re drying out.”

Downtown Fort Myers was hit hardest, with 6.5 inches of rain on Tuesday, compared with nearly 5 inches in Cape Coral, more than 2 inches in Naples and just under 2 inches in Bonita Springs.

In Bonita, where it typically takes 2-3 days after a hard rain for sheet flow to flood low-lying areas east of Interstate 75, about 1,100 residents were displaced from two mobile home parks in 2008 in the aftermath of Tropical Storm Fay. But for now, “there’s nothing we can do except play the waiting game,” said Debbi Redfield, spokeswoman for the Bonita Springs Fire and Rescue District.

Meanwhile, those affected will continue cleanup efforts.

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