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Residents of flood prone areas readying for Hurricane Ian rainfall

Residents of flood prone areas readying for Hurricane Ian rainfall
Residents of flood prone areas readying for Hurricane Ian rainfall 02:43

MIAMI - As South Florida braces for the possible impacts of Hurricane Ian, a community that flooded back in June following a tropical system is preparing to prevent severe localized flooding.

The Saga Bay community located in Cutler Bay was inundated with rainfall causing Saga Bay Lake to breach its banks, sending tens of thousands of gallons of water into the surrounding area back in June.

While South Florida is no longer in the cone of concern, county officials encourage residents who live in areas that are prone to flooding to have a plan.

"It's been hurricane season for a while now and I know we have a lot of newcomers who haven't really experienced a storm before. So we want to just emphasize to them, we're watching we have really good projections," said Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava.

While Ian is expected to bring rain to South Florida, residents who spoke to CBS4 said they aren't worried.

"Oh no, worry is a sin," said Fredrick McGintis, who lives on Saga Bay Lake.

"I'm not expecting anything more than 40 to 50 mph winds and maybe 8-10 inches of rain, worst case," said Art Fagg, another Saga Bay resident.

A group of volunteers in a Hurricane Help Committee has been formed since the heavy rainfall caused flooding in early June. Pumps were brought in last time but there are no plans to do that this time. However, Cutler Bay is taking steps to curb flooding and the South Florida Water Management District is lowering water levels there.

Meanwhile, Miami Mayor Francis Suarez is warning people to take Hurricane Ian seriously. 

He told CBS4's Peter D'Oench "We are expecting 4 to 7 inches of rain and you have to understand we in the midst of King Tide, the highest tides of the year and we also have something called dry day flooding and we have to be prepared. The issue is not just the rain it is the speed of the year and when it happens we call it rain bombs. It is very fast and overwhelms the system."

Suarez said "All of our permanent pumps are operating and 7 portable pumps are being installed. We are also looking at Instagram video for spot flooding that is captured on social media. We have also made changes by I 395 near Biscayne Boulevard. CBS4 discovered that measures had been taken to keep excess debris from going in to drains by the construction project off I 395 and just west of Biscayne Boulevard." 

There was some extensive street flooding in the Brickell area in early June, also caused by the heavy rainfall.

Suarez said "At that time the main pump in Brickell failed but it has been made more resilient."

Miami also set up 3 sites including one in Little Haiti and ones at Douglas Park at 2755 S.W. 37TH Ave. and at Grapeland Park at 1550 N.W. 37th Ave. where Miami residents could receive free bags of sand between 7 am and 5 pm as long as they showed proof of residency.

John Kay said, "I am just going to take one day at a time and watch the outcome."

After he picked up sandbags, Luis Ramirez told D'Oench, "I think there could be flooding and I need to be careful to protect the property. Last time it flooded."

The Mayor of Miami Gardens declared a state of emergency in his city and said his city would be passing out sandbags from noon to 4:30 pm on Monday and from 630 am to noon on Tuesday at a property owned by the Archdiocese of Miami at N.W. 183rd St. and 12th Ave. 

The city of Hialeah said that workers would be handing out free sandbags as well at Babcock Park from 5 pm to 830 pm on Monday "while supplies last."

City officials urge anyone who lives in a low-lying area to have a hurricane plan and kit. Your kit should include enough water and non-perishable food for at least a week. Your hurricane kit should also include batteries, flashlights, a battery-powered radio, and a supply of medications. It also should have plastic, duct tape, and a utility knife to cover broken windows.

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