SARASOTA - Flooding in the Bayou Oaks neighborhood Wednesday night forced about a dozen people from their homes.
Around 8 p.m., the Whitaker Bayou quickly rose and flooded 40th St. E. at Cocoanut Ave. Sarasota city police officers, fire rescue workers, and emergency managers were on the scene even before homeowners started calling for help.
Officers waded through waist-deep water to help bring residents to safety. One woman clutched her small dog as she waited for relief.
“Officers were coming up to me and their gun belts were underwater. They’re actually up to (their waists) in water,” said Lt. Lori Jeress.
Other emergency responders went down 38th St., 39th St. and 41st St., warning people and encouraging them to voluntarily evacuate.
“It could’ve been a lot worse. Right now it’s low tide. High tide is around 1:30 in the morning so we could see dramatic change depending on how much more it rains here,” said Emergency Manager Todd Kerkering.
Kerkering and Jeress say in 25 years on the job they’ve never seen flooding like this in Bayou Oaks.
Neighbors agree the surge is much more than what they’ve experienced in the past.
“It has flooded down here in the past, but of course, we still have to get through tomorrow,” said Tomara Kafka.
The American Red Cross is on standby at Robert Taylor Community Center to help flood victims.
Most who left their homes are staying with friends or family.