ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — With heavy rains potentially impacting the Tampa Bay area this weekend, the City of St. Petersburg is attempting to get ahead of any flooding that could take over city streets and neighborhoods.
Near Lake Maggiore, along MLK and Pellenza Drive, the city has installed a temporary pump to help lower the level in the lake.
Tyna Middleton has lived in her home off Pellenza drive since the late 80s. She says flooding was an issue then and remains one now.
"The water over flooded the banks and got into my yard and I’m thinking, oh Lord I know I didn’t move here just to get flooded out,” she said, recalling a flooding event shortly after moving in.
Nearly 30 years alter the question still crosses her mind. Other neighbors are facing the same issue living along Lake Maggiore.
It’s why St. Pete public works crews continue setting up the temporary pump to drain the lake by a foot to keep it from overflowing.
"In the past two years it has been here at least twice,” said Middleton.
Tyna recalls years ago the permanent flood gates that are installed right in front of her house used to open and close automatically. One day, after seeing a storm water employee opening the gates, she asked him why they don’t anymore.
"I’m saying why do you have to lift the gates I thought it was supposed to do it on its own? He says the digital component of it wasn’t working anymore,” she said.
Public works says the flood gates are only opened during low tide to allow excess lake water to drain into Salt Creek. During rainy months like August and September, storms prevent the tide from dropping low enough to open the gates. So, the temporary pump does the job.
"It’s been helpful in terms of the water but it is ugly and it is noisy,” she said. Middleton is also concerned about curious kids who aren’t being supervised.
They say it wouldn’t be cost efficient to install a permanent pump since it’s not used year round and would deteriorate from lack of use.
Another neighbor wishes the city would be proactive and place warning signs for drivers before flooding occurs so someone doesn’t get injured or stuck.
St. Pete officials say the pumping may go on for several more weeks.