FORT MYERS, FL – Heavy and incessant rain over the past few weeks has flooded communities across southwest Florida.
The Fort Myers Gate is no stranger to wet conditions, but it does approach water capacity.
In a Facebook post Thursday, Gateway Services’ Community Development District said it has received numerous calls and emails from residents about flooding in the community.
In response, the district said it has targeted stormwater drainage gates and pond entrances to help mitigate flood risks.
However, one of the elements they could only observe was the amount of water falling from the sky.
“We’ve seen a lot of flooding,” Christy Gallagher said. “Our streets have been flooded for a week and a half.”
Leaders in the development zone said the ponds and waterways are nearing capacity.
Use the analogy of a wet cloth. The representatives said that the ground in the Gate was currently soaked like a wet rag.
Any other rain would be like pouring a glass of water on a damp cloth.
That could mean the potential for flooding in the area, as the water has nowhere else to go.
“We saw her go up, go up, go up,” said Leah Barfoot.
The water in her backyard was crawling like a crocodile chasing its prey, slowly and steadily eating away in their backyards.
“It’s now got to the point where it’s a little worrisome,” Barfoot said.
At Christy Gallagher’s house, for example, it’s hard to take her son for a walk around the pond.
“We can usually walk all over that side,” Gallagher said. “It’s usually much less than this.”
Now the path that divides the pond and the reserve is partially submerged.
“It’s basically a giant pool,” she said.
She is not alone, and not just outside.
“The water in our front yard was close to the front door,” Gallagher said.
The pipes are clean but backed up at Timermarsh Court in the Timberwood Preserve section. Gutters are now swimming with guppies because there is simply nowhere for the water to go.
“The problem is the real rain we’ve already seen,” Barfoot said. “They were devastated.”
Even more devastating is what comes to mind the last time she saw rain like this during the late rainy season.
“This rainy season, especially the last few weeks, that’s exactly what happened before Irma because the ground was so saturated,” Barfoot said.
This is why Gateway Services Community Development District is already one step ahead.
“The region monitors tropical disturbances within the Gulf of Mexico as well as rises in water flow within the Gateway community,” the staff said in a statement. “Staff were monitoring the drainage system, storm drains, and sounding the entrances to the fishing ponds to make sure there were no blockages. The system is open and draining effectively so far. We are reaching out to our partners in the City of Fort Myers, the Lee County Department of Natural Resources and the South Florida Water Management District to ensure that all appropriate measures are taken.”
“We’re not looking forward to more storms to come,” Gallagher said.
Gateway residents facing sewage blockage or flooding are encouraged to apply for employment.