Orlando hit by severe flooding, major roads submerged as restoration begins, rescues begin


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After the passage of Hurricane Ian, parts of Orlando and Kissimmee reported massive flash floods, flooding parts of the Florida Turnpike and major roads near attractions such as Universal Studios. Restoration relief efforts continued on Thursday.

An Orange County Sheriff's Deputy rescued a woman in the flooded Oro Vista neighborhood. Source: Orange County Sheriff's Office.

An Orange County Sheriff’s Deputy rescued a woman in the flooded Oro Vista neighborhood. Source: Orange County Sheriff’s Office.

Florida Highway Patrol has reported an airboat rescue of residents in a flooded area along Simpson Road in Kissimmee. The Orange County sheriff’s deputy was also working to evict residents from the flooded Oruro community off Colonial Drive in West Orlando.

Highway Patrol spokesperson Tara Crescente said, “The entire neighborhood is flooded. We are working now to contact residents. The Florida Wildlife Commission is using airboats. I will,” he said.

Orlando Mayor Jerry Demings also urged residents to evacuate and avoid travel as flooding continues and damage assessments are underway.

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Residents and law enforcement posted images on social media showing flooding along several major roads, including Colonial Drive and Primrose Drive, Semoran Boulevard and Lake Underhill Road, and the South Blossom Trail. . Severe flooding was reported along the Florida Turnpike, a north-south transportation corridor, with at least four feet of water covering along a lane near mile marker 254 in Orange County.

Portions of the Florida Turnpike were closed Thursday as a result of flooding.Source: Florida Highway Patrol

Portions of the Florida Turnpike were closed Thursday as a result of flooding.Source: Florida Highway Patrol

“Turnpikes don’t normally flood like this, so we’re seeing a lot of flooding, and this is a very large volume of water,” Cressenzi said, adding that first responders are working together. He added that he was cleaning up the area and helping the residents.

The Florida Highway Patrol reported Thursday that service plazas in Central Florida will remain closed.

Orlando and Kissimmee expected at least two to three inches of rain Thursday night.

The National Weather Service issued a flash flood warning overnight for parts of Orlando and Kissimmee. The Orlando County Fire and Rescue Team braved the water and wind to rescue residents from the Avante Orlando Orphanage off Semoran Boulevard. Firefighters called as flood waters began to rise around the facility as paramedics in raincoats sloshed through ankle-high water toward buses awaiting patients on stretchers. I posted a video of the pressing.

The residents were then taken to a special needs shelter, city officials reported.

Flooding also affected the entrance ramp to Interstate 4 from Ivanhoe Boulevard. Lake Eola also reportedly overflowed its banks and flowed into the surrounding city park. Orlando police were seen patrolling the area, driving through the water in jeeps.

Orlando International Airport, the country’s busiest, remains closed.

An airport official said early Thursday, “Waiting for damage (assessment), commercial operations are expected to resume sometime on Friday.

JD Gallop Criminal Justice/Breaking News Reporter for FLORIDA TODAY. Contact Gallop at 321-917-4641 or [email protected] twitter: @JD Gallop.

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This article originally appeared in Florida Today. Hurricane Ian Severe Floods Hit Orlando, Kissimmee Area