St. Cloud residents return to neighborhoods flooded by East Lake Toho

Voluntary evacuation issued Sunday

Some residents have been returning to their homes in St. Cloud after a voluntary evacuation was issued by officials earlier in the week.

ST. CLOUD, Fla. – Some residents have been returning to their homes in St. Cloud after a voluntary evacuation was issued by officials earlier in the week.

Maurice Van Cauwenverge was back at his property on Friday after he left a few days earlier because of rising floodwater.

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“I was frightened. I never experienced anything like that before,” Van Cauwenverge said.

Last weekend, the neighborhood along Blackberry Creek saw widespread flooding as East Lake Tohopekaliga swelled from the aftermath of Hurricane Ian.

“The road was like a river,” Van Cauwenverge said. “Our neighbor in front of me here, his son went down the street in a kayak.”

On Sunday, St. Cloud officials issued a voluntary evacuation for more than 12 areas, which included more than 3,400 residents.

Since then, officials said East Lake Tohopekaliga peaked on Thursday and rising levels in other lakes had stalled.

The news came as a relief to residents who were worried about additional flooding.

“I did the most I could do and that was sandbagging and hope for the best, but it’s a frightening situation,” Van Cauwenverge said.

Osceola County officials said they’re continuing work to reduce flows of water into the regional lake system, which should lower levels.

As some areas are still dealing with flooding, residents are asked to pay attention to local alerts from emergency management.


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About the Author:

Mark Lehman became a News 6 reporter in July 2014, but he's been a Central Florida journalist and part of the News 6 team for much longer. While most people are fast asleep in their bed, Mark starts his day overnight by searching for news on the streets of Central Florida.