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Weekend storm latest home hurdle for Fort Myers Beach woman

A few inches of rain turned out to be hours of worry, more than a year after Ian damaged a different home
Posted at 4:34 PM, Dec 19, 2023
and last updated 2023-12-19 16:34:27-05

FORT MYERS BEACH, Fla. — A local woman, Pam Shanks, recounts a chilling tale of survival in the wake of a storm that flooded her home last Sunday.

"I thought I was going to die," Shanks recalls. Around 2:30 AM, after being woken by a neighbor's call, she noticed her house flooding, with sparks shooting out of her kitchen wall near the stove.

Surrounded by smoke and trapped by the rising water, her fear escalated. "I just stood in the middle of my bed and started crying," she says.

The flooding, brought on by the winds and surge of the low-pressure system, was not the first challenge faced by Shanks. More than a year ago, her home was severely damaged by Hurricane Ian, and the recent storm destroyed much of her new furniture. As the water rose to her ankles and eventually filled her rain boots, Shanks attempted to unplug an extension cord causing sparks, enduring repeated electric shocks in the process.

"I unplugged it, but it kept shocking me," Shanks describes her frantic efforts to prevent a fire. "I had to let it go. So I kept doing that a little at a time until I wiggled it out."

Neighbors Karen and Lloyd Nichols say the constantly see the flooding.

"We've lived here for 24 years," Karen Nichols says, "and this property has been flooding for 24 years." Her husband, Lloyd, adds, "The street and the back are almost at the same height, which has been causing a recurring problem for years."

In the aftermath, Shanks managed to rent another apartment and hopes this will be the last time she has to start over.