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How DeSoto County is addressing flooding concerns ahead of hurricane season

Officials say they're focusing on better communication efforts -- a lesson from Hurricane Ian.
DeSoto County Emergency Management
Posted at 10:54 PM, Apr 09, 2024

ARCADIA, Fla. — DeSoto County Emergency Management is keeping a close eye on flood-prone areas in preparation for hurricane season.

Emergency Management Director Richard Christoff said the Peace River topped 23 feet during Hurricane Ian.

"We set records during Hurricane Ian," Christoff said.

Ian and its flood waters swept away people's homes, pets, and even livelihoods.

Christoff said the focus is doing a better job of informing residents on ways to keep their property and families safe.

"We've increased our community outreach to try and educate the public on different mitigation efforts, things they can do, and places they can go to get information such as getting notifications from our DeSoto Alerts," he said.

Michelle Crispin, whose home was hit hard by Hurricane Ian, said those alerts will help her family.

"As far as after the floods and stuff, it was hard to get help in here," she said. "We had water just underneath the deck here. Our shed was pushed off its foundation."

Crispin said it was only a small part of a much bigger picture.

"We're still going around finding things," she said. "Out back we had somebody's dead cows. We had a dead cow actually up here by the porch. When all the water receded, it was stuck between our motorcycle trailer and the house."

However, through it all, Crispin said there's still a silver lining.

"We're downsizing a lot," she said.

The county is also hosting a hurricane expo on June 4 at the Turner Center. It'll be held from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.