‘You can’t design for that:’ Record rainfall leaves parts of Ponce Inlet flooded days after storm

Ponce Inlet saw almost 21 inches of rain

Communities on Volusia County’s east coast saw the most rainfall in Central Florida during Hurricane Ian.

PONCE INLET, Fla. – Communities on Volusia County’s east coast saw the most rainfall in Central Florida during Hurricane Ian. One of those was Ponce Inlet, where many homes are still under water and town leaders are working to get the water out.

“Today was the first day we could get the car in the driveway,” said Dick Pastor, a resident on Jennifer Circle.

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They’re some of the residents getting inside their homes now for the first time six days after the storm hit.

They live on one of the five streets, including Jennifer Circle, Bay Harbor Drive, Riverglen Boulevard, Calumet Avenue and Inlet Point Boulevard, where portions of the street were still closed Wednesday. The town was able to secure a pump for that area Tuesday night.

Other residents were still waiting for water to go down to get in, and some neighbors whose homes sit up higher are still unable to get out.

“People have been stranded. They couldn’t get out because the water in the roads was 12 to 18 inches deep,” said Pastor.

Volusia County saw the most rainfall during the storm, with New Smyrna Beach and Ponce Inlet topping those numbers. The National Weather Service estimated New Smyrna received about 21.09 inches and Ponce received about 20.95 inches.

Ponce Inlet’s Public Works Manager Fred Griffith said that much water is something municipal stormwater systems were not designed to handle.

“From a design engineering standpoint, you can’t design for that, you can’t plan for that, you just have to try to take care of it after it happens,” he said.

Griffith said they had town-owned pumps ready for other areas but had a hard time bringing in another big one for these streets with many other areas of Volusia in need of them, too.

The water is slowly starting to go down since they got one installed Tuesday.

“We are pretty busy in the fire department answering calls for service. It hasn’t really slowed down for any of us,” said Fire Chief David Scales.

Scales said they’re working with the county EOC to try and bring in other means of getting the water out quicker, too. He said even with the pump, it will still take time before some residents can leave or come in.

Town Manager Jeaneen Witt said in total, 500 homes had some type of damage from the storm. She said 100 of those had over three inches of water in them at some point.

About the Author:

Molly joined News 6 at the start of 2021, returning home to Central Florida.