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Monday, October 31, 2011

Vero Beach School Deals with Flooding

By late morning, the sky was clearer and some of the flood waters in hard-hit areas were starting to recede, but the early Monday soaking left its mark.

Vero Beach was one of the soggiest areas, having received 3.77 inches of rain between midnight and 9:20 a.m., according to National Weather Service meteorologist John Pendergrast. That nearly set a record -- except for hurricane-marked 2004, when 23.01 inches fell in one month, October was the wettest of any month in Vero Beach at almost 22 inches, Pendergrast said.

"It's been a real soaker,'' Pendergrast said. He said an area of low pressure came together with the remnants of the weekend's cold front and a very moist atmosphere to produce the downpour.

Rain chances fall to about 50 percent during the rest of the day, and only lingering showers are possible tonight for Trick-or-Treaters, he said.

No rain is forecast on Tuesday, which is a good thing, since Indian River will need it to dry out.

At 19th Street and U.S. 1 in Vero Beach an awning at a Sunoco gas station fell down. No one was injured. The manager wasn't sure if water on the awning or heavy winds were the cause.

On Monday morning, rising water east of U.S. 1 on S.R. 60 starting seeping into low-lying Osceola Magnet Elementary School, forcing officials to close it. Parents are urged to pick up children already at the school as classes have been canceled. However, if parents cannot pick up children, school officials will keep them throughout the day.

By mid-morning, Indian River County declared an emergency closure of 13th Street Southwest between 12th Court and 13th Avenue due to a compromised drainage pipe. "The subject roadway will be closed until further notice. A detour route is posted," Indian River officials said in a news release.

Earlier Monday, Linda Friley’s car became a boat on U.S. 1 as several inches of rain fell in about two hours as of 7 a.m., flooding sections of multiple roads and closing one school in Indian River County.

“It’s been brutal,” said Scott Hall with Mike’s Wrecker service.

Friley, of Fort Pierce, was northbound on U.S. 1 at 6:45 a.m. when flooding forced her to veer into the median south of 12th Street where her car stopped working — and began floating.

Water seeped in up to her ankles as the car bobbed in the water. “Luckily it floated to the right side” toward the curb, she said. She dialed 911 and finally around 7:25 a tow truck was able to pull her car out of the water that still filled parts of the road and turned the nearby parking lot at Publix grocery store into a lake.

Police officials said that around 9:15 a.m., two areas appeared to have the worst flooding and were considered a top priority: Royal Palm Pointe at Indian River Boulevard and Beachland Boulevard at State Road A1A. Police were rerouting vehicles around low-lying Royal Palm Pointe at Indian River Boulevard because of high standing water.

Flooding also got in the way of motorists on other parts of U.S. 1: mostly concentrated on streets south of State Road 60. Miracle Mile also was flooded. Officials warned of severe flooding capable of stranding vehicles at 10th Street, and between Eighth and Fourth streets.

There was a string of accidents on Interstate 95 all along the Treasure Coast.

Rains fell periodically through most of the early morning, and then around 7 a.m. a heavy band of showers passed through Indian River County.

The weather service issued an “urban and small stream flood advisory” until 9:15 a.m. for eastern Indian River County, including Vero Beach, Sebastian, Winter Beach, Wabasso, Vero Beach South, Roseland, Gifford and Indian River Shores.

The flooding advisory also covers southeastern Brevard County, including Grant, Barefoot Bay, Indiatlantic, Malabar and Melbourne.

The weather service said “motorists should deactivate cruise control and slow down in heavy rainfall to reduce the risk of hydroplaning. leave safe distance between other vehicles.

“Do not drive your vehicle into areas where the water covers the roadway. the water depth may be too great to allow your car to cross safely."

Indian River County Public Works Department crews were called out to help with the flooding around Vero Beach.

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