More than 100 evacuate Polk County homes as flood threat increases

Polk County officials said Monday morning about 100 households have voluntarily evacuated their homes because of the increased threat of flooding in the area. (Photo credit: WLOS staff)

The rain has returned and flash flooding is once again a big concern in Polk County. Officials on Friday issued a voluntary evacuation for certain areas, as the threat of severe weather increased as Subtropical Storm Alberto moved closer to the Gulf Coast.

The county's emergency management director said Monday morning about 100 households have voluntarily evacuated their homes. The sheriff's office has also stepped up patrols in the areas where the voluntary evacuation is in place.

Shields and Francis Flynn, of the Brookwood subdivision off Warrior Drive, are still cleaning up flood damage after the last major round of severe weather. A culvert washed out near their home, causing water and debris to rush into their basement.

Though they have bags packed, they said they plan to stay put for now, as they continue cleaning up and prepping their home for this round of weather.

"We have friends who live nearby who have a guest house, and we can go there at a moment's notice. So we're just watching the weather and doing what we can. And, so far, it seems OK, the Flynn's said.

On a nearby road, some residents plan to stay put but are concerned about their neighbors on U.S. 176.

"I would say I'm worried not so much right now for my home but for just the people around here," Polk County resident Cathy Jones said.

Though U.S. 176 is open, the destruction is evident along the drive. Massive boulders and trees can be seen along the roadway, after they came crashing down during mudslides more than a week ago, temporarily closing the road.

"If something happens down on the bridges on the highways, you won't be able to get out," Polk County resident Jon Austin said.

American Red Cross officials said two people stayed at the emergency shelter at Polk County Middle School on Sunday night and it remains open for residents who need a place to stay.

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