Update 8/9, 8:37 p.m.: According to a release on the city of Gulfport’s website, the city’s “Sanitary Sewer System has begun to discharge effluent (overflows) in the area of 49th Street South and 31st Avenue South.” Staff expects the situation to improve, though they are monitoring the sites and will “take corrective measures as necessary.”
Featured photo from O’Maddy’s Bar & Grille’s Facebook page
Due to a stalled front in the Florida Panhandle, the Gulf Coast is experiencing a week of heavy downpours, thunderstorms and street flooding not seen since Tropical Storm Colin in early June. Gulfport experienced five to six inches of rain on Monday alone, according to Don Sopak, Gulfport public works director. However, as of Tuesday afternoon the system has mostly caused a soggy mess.
“We are not aware of any major damages,” said Sopak. “Local street flooding due to the amount of rain and the above-normal tides with some downed trees and wires have occurred.”
Pictures posted on social media by residents showed flooded streets and at least one overflowing man hole cover. O’Maddy’s bar & Grille posted pictures on Facebook Monday afternoon showing some storm-related tidal flooding along Shore Blvd., surrounding the business.
City workers have been busy cleaning debris from storm drains, monitoring tide levels and responding to citizens’ questions about the amount of rain.
According to City Manager Jim O’Reilly, responding to resident Denise Lowe in a letter she posted to Facebook Tuesday, few residents had requested sand bags. However, he noted anyone in need of them should call Public Works at 727-893-1089 for assistance.
Gulfport officials have also communicated with the city of St. Petersburg to head off any potential problem situations with the sewer systems.
“The City off Gulfport has been in contact with the City of St. Petersburg about the increased flows of the sanitary sewer systems in both towns due to infiltration of ground water. The City of St. Petersburg has not reported any sanitary sewer discharges ,” said Sopak.
Sopak also suggested that residents stay off the road during the worst weather, recommending that they “try to avoid driving in heavy rains and flooded streets if possible.”