St. Cloud issues voluntary evacuations as water levels quickly rise. Here’s where and why

Flooding likely due to vandalism, expected to make roads impassable

The City of St. Cloud on Sunday announced voluntary evacuations had begun in Blackberry, Pemberly Pines, Summer Cove, Sugar Mill, St. Cloud Village, Soleil Blue, Jade Isle, Savannah Park, Edgewater and surrounding areas due to encroaching floodwaters.

St. CLOUD, Fla. – The city of St. Cloud on Sunday announced voluntary evacuations had begun in Blackberry, Pemberly Pines, Summer Cove, Sugar Mill, St. Cloud Village, Soleil Blue, Jade Isle, Savannah Park, Edgewater and surrounding areas due to encroaching floodwaters.

Speaking from the St. Cloud Police Department, City Manager Veronica Miller described the city’s response plan, already set in motion.

“Early this morning, some areas of the City of St. Cloud began experiencing a rise in water levels that was faster than predicted by the modeling. The city is fully prepared to respond to the situation and assist our residents. We have police and high-water vehicles assisting those who need help getting out of their neighborhoods. We have posted information on social media and have done reverse 911 calls to impacted residents. Those calls are continuing throughout the afternoon,” Miller said. “We are currently operating in Blackberry, Pemberly Pines, Summer Cove, Sugar Mill, Jade Isle, Savannah Park and Edgewater. We will be in St. Cloud Village and Soleil Blue later today.”

An emergency shelter was established at Osceola Heritage Park as city staff and volunteers also went door to door to notify residents and assist them in evacuating if needed, Miller said.

St. Cloud Mayor Nathan Blackwell said that while the region sustained an unprecedented 17 inches of rain from Hurricane Ian, the sudden rise in water levels could be due to vandals.

“We’ve been told that an outflow north of East Toho was vandalized overnight. This has caused the water levels to rise here in St. Cloud much faster and much higher than anticipated. The city is working closely with South Florida Water Management District and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to mitigate the anticipated flooding as quickly as possible. At this time, we’re not aware of any water that’s actually intruding into houses, but streets are flooded.”

Blackwell urged anyone with special needs who intended to evacuate to call 911 without hesitation.

Miller said the excess water from Hurricane Ian was moving south into St. Cloud from surrounding counties, which is typical, adding area water management districts and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers were working to divert it.

Miller also spoke more on the vandalized outfall, which she said functions to control the volume and speed of water heading in St. Cloud’s direction.

“We were told this morning that South Florida Water Management District went to close the outfall and discovered it had been vandalized overnight and was open,” Miller said.

City leaders expect the water to crest after “a little longer” than four days, as the models continue to change.

Miller said the city was still giving out sandbags at its civics center to residents determined to protect their property.


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Brandon, a UCF grad, joined the ClickOrlando team in November 2021. Before joining News 6, Brandon worked at WDBO.