Many Interlachen residents battling flooding after Hurricane Irma

Despite her home being flooded and the damage not yet determined, Laura Cordova was just thrilled to see her pets rescued from the wreckage.

Hurricane Irma, which struck Putnam County on Sunday and Monday, left behind downed trees and power lines throughout the county.

But in Interlachen, some residents are also contending with flooding. Lake Ida, one of the defining sites as motorists drive west into Interlachen, swelled and caused flooding in numerous homes, garages, mobile homes and other structures.

“I evacuated … after we seen (the lake) was getting deeper and deeper,” Cordova said. “I’ve got two birds in there. I’m trying to see if it’ll go down so I can go let them out.”

Cordova’s neighbors, who are dealing with flooding of their own properties, waded into her house to rescue her birds, Pepe and Pinky, and retrieve their cages. Pepe and Pinky were too overwhelmed with emotion to comment.

Her joyous reunion with her birds served as the bright spot of a day spent sitting in her vehicle watching floodwaters flow around and through the home in which she has lived for seven years.

“Even with (Hurricane) Matthew, we got a little bit of rain,” Cordova said. “Not like this.”

Cordova’s neighbor, Palmer Loper, was one of her birds’ rescuers. Loper also waded through knee-deep water to see to Cordova’s air conditioning unit and circuit breaker after they noticed electricity had been restored to her home.

Loper, who has lived along Lake Ida for three years but has lived in Interlachen for 15 years, said his house was spared from floodwaters. The same could not be said for his porch and garage, he said.

Loper said he visited numerous people who lived on different areas along the lake and many of them have flooded property.

“Not all of them, but several of them,” Loper said. “I was here. I watched it inch up and inch up until it took us over.”

Loper and Cordova said they evacuated their homes once it was clear flooding was imminent.

Rebecca Richie doesn’t live along Lake Ida, but that didn’t stop some people in her neighborhood from getting floodwater in their yard.

But her yard, like in many storms previously, was spared from flooding, she said. Because Richie and her immediate neighbors live on an incline, flooding never occurs in their area, she said.

“I’ve never had a puddle in my yard,” Richie said. “I was stunned (when I saw Lake Ida). I almost ran off the road. My heart goes out to those people.”

Richie said she and her neighbors weren’t spared from the hurricane. She said her home has no electricity and she has tree limbs strewn throughout her property.

Richie and her neighbors decided to look after each other, rather than wait to be rescued. On Tuesday, she was visiting a convenience store to get supplies for her neighbors before going back home to assist with removing debris.

“Where we live on this dirt road, everyone comes together,” Richie said. “Everybody’s out with their chainsaws. Everybody’s helping each other.”