Boynton Beach residents still 'trapped on island' by floods

The Meadows community was hit hard by rain

BOYNTON BEACH, Fla. - Too much rain in too short of a time span has turned a Boynton Beach neighborhood into an island community.

On Friday evening, residents of The Meadows were feeling trapped and were also growing more concerned about their safety.

The residents of The Meadows neighborhoods woke Friday to high floodwater and were going to bed Friday evening with little change.

Many people inside the development on Congress Avenue said the water could not recede quickly enough.

"We can't go anywhere else," said Lilly Velazquez. Her family members say they are feeling very isolated by all the water. At the same time, they also needed to venture out to the supermarket to purchase a few items. Velazquez put her two young nieces in a shopping cart for the return trip from the store.

"We had to plan," said Lilly's sister, Lola Velazquez. "We were going to take that way but it's more flooded so we went this way instead," she said.

From a distance, the neighborhood looks calm and even peaceful. But down on the saturated, water-covered ground, it can be frustrating - even frightening - for residents.

"We are concerned," said John Lucena. "The water gets dark. You can't see. And the other concern is the health concern," he said. Lucena is also concerned about alligators that had been known to frequent the retention ponds throughout The Meadows in the past.

"Our minds can't comprehend being on an island like this," said Lucena, who believes that this is the worst flooding his neighborhood has seen since Hurricane Irene.

The city of Boynton Beach said they are responding to the situation, but many residents say the conditions have not changed fast enough.

City Commissioner David Merker said the drainage system in the area was overwhelmed by too much rain in too little time.

"Everything has been 24/7," said Merker. "The shame of it is, people don't realize that the excess water is mother nature having a bad night and waking up. But the system itself, which is the most key, is working," he said.

Merker urged residents who remain concerned to contact the City Manager's office.

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