Andrea brings heavy rain, flash floods to Lee County

Jun. 08, 2013 @ 05:00 AM

A rainy 48 hours culminated Friday afternoon with flash floods throughout Lee County, where water spilled over into roads and impeded motorists, as Tropical Storm Andrea made its way up the East Coast.

Several streets — including portions of Swann Station Road, McNeill Road, Hickory House Road, John Garner Road and Williet Road — were flooded Friday afternoon, according to various law enforcement and emergency communication agencies. At least one home, located at the 100 block of North Eighth Street, was struck by a downed tree, but no one was injured, according to homeowner Janette Santos.

Meanwhile, Sanford Police and Public Works blocked a road flooded behind BB&T bank in the Riverbirch Shopping Center. Numerous other instances of high water were reported throughout the city and county, including Kiwanis Park and the surrounding area.

Stonegate Pond within Carolina Trace breached the top of its dam, flooding residential roads, according to Lee County Emergency Services Director Shane Seagroves. As of 4:30 p.m. Friday, Traceway Drive within Carolina Trace was flooded from pond and rain water, he said. Both emergency gates were opened for traffic, and no damage was reported to homes.

Lee County began to see and feel evidence of the Andrea's outer bands Thursday night as the storm moved from Florida toward the northeast, Seagroves said.

"Once the eye [of the storm] passes, we'll see less rain," he said. "It will pull some dry air behind it, and we may see some slight showers this weekend, but it will be off the coast by Saturday."

Andrea was the first named storm of the summer — meaning its winds are 39 mph or greater — and the National Oceanic And Atmospheric Administration is anticipating an active hurricane and storm season this summer, said National Weather Service Meteorologist Barrett Smith.

According to a NOAA release, there is a 70 percent likelihood of 13 to 20 named storms this hurricane season, which began June 1, including three to six major hurricanes. A major hurricane is considered a Category 3, 4 or 5 with winds more than 111 mph.

People will need to be vigilant of their surroundings and have all the necessary supplies in case of a weather emergency, Smith said.

"In general, people need to be aware of what is going around them," he said. "People should not drive through water and stay away from downed trees or power lines."

Seagroves agreed and said people need to have a weather radio and keep an eye on weather reports.

"They need to make sure they have their readiness kits," he said. "And usually situational awareness is the best. Be aware of your surroundings and stay alert."