Mariner's Cove residents running out of options as bad weather approaches

Posted at 4:59 PM, Aug 29, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-29 17:52:52-04

The people in one Clearwater community are on edge preparing for  the onslaught of more bad weather. Tropical Depression Nine is expected to become a Tropical Storm soon, bringing with it the potential for heavy rain and flooding.

Back in June, police and fire crews had to help residents to safety. Emergency crews rescued more than 30 families from their homes, using inflatable boats and going door to door in a voluntary evacuation.

The water was more than four feet deep in some areas of the mobile home park. Now, with another Tropical Storm on the horizon, they are worried again.

"To wake up, and step into water out of your bed is traumatizing," said Jerome Sims, who had to leave his home in June by boat.

Mariner's Cove residents say the flooding happens over and over again.

"The water moves up pretty fast when it's raining hard," he said.

The main problem is the Cross Bayou Canal, that borders the Mariner's Cove Mobile Home Park. Residents say there's not enough drainage and so the canal continually overflows.

ABC Action News asked Pinellas County what's being done to help protect the people of Mariner's Cove.

Pinellas County Public Works says there is a capital improvement project on the books that will help remove trash and weeds from the canal. Unfortunately, they said that will not be much help to people living in Mariner's Cove, because the park is built on such low ground.

Per county ordinance, those who own the mobile homes would have to raise the homes above flood plain themselves to stay safe.

Unfortunately, many of those residents are already on fixed incomes.

"I do feel like I'm being held hostage," Sims said.

Sims said he is still recovering from the last time and wants to know if he should leave his home for good.

"If we shouldn't be here, then somebody should put us on notice to move," he said.

He said he doesn't want to have to leave his home again by boat.

Pinellas County said they are sending out county staff is scheduled to deliver copies of the All Hazard Guide to residents both in English and Spanish language.

They also ask residents sign up for ALERT PINELLAS, an emergency notification service. It is free to Pinellas County residents and will offers multiple ways to get the word to you whenever an urgent situation arises.