ORLANDO, FL (AP) — For University of Central Florida students living in Arden Villas Apartments, a typical Friday means getting ready for a weekend of college football, beer pong, and perhaps flipping through a book or two .
Hurricane Ian I was forced to change plans. Students living in a complex near the UCF campus on Friday hauled water-filled clothes into garbage bags, used pontoons and air mattresses to rescue friends, and moved furniture out of flooded apartments. A car was submerged in brown water in the parking lot of an apartment complex.
Andee Holbert, her sister and her dog evacuated Thursday before the water reached their heads. They loaded up their father’s pickup truck, which had driven in from South Florida, and returned to collect wet clothes and other salvageable items in garbage bags.
“We still had power, which was terrifying. The lights were still on and we were knee-deep in our apartment,” said Holbert, a nursing student. . “We just wanted to get some of our stuff and save it before we were told we couldn’t come back for a while.”
Flooding began in condominiums on Thursday after a deadly storm hit central Florida, leaving Orlando with historic flooding that saw 14 inches (35.5cm) of rainfall in some places. About 200 residents were evacuated from the complex, and some students with surfboards helped rescue pets.
Diandra Smith, also a nursing student, was sleeping in her third-floor apartment when the others were evacuated. She spent the storm with her dog.
On Friday, other students at the complex helped push her out of the flooded parking lot on the pontoon and take her to dry land so she could get dog food. .
Smith wasn’t sure whether to go to her family’s home in South Florida or find shelter so she could attend classes in Orlando.
“I’m still trying to figure it out,” Smith said.
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