PALM CITY — Kelsey Killer, whose home is adjacent to the St. Lucie River, said Hurricane Nicole was “a lot more than we expected.”
Killer, 25, said she and her husband left for work about 7:30 a.m. Wednesday, and by about three hours later, 4 to 5 inches of water was inside their home.
“We expected flooding, but we didn’t expect it that soon, and that much,” Killer said Friday.
By about 11 p.m. Wednesday, 13 inches of water was in her house.
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While Martin County largely escaped major damage from Nicole, some, such as Killer, continue dealing with the aftermath of the storm, which brought up to 3 feet of storm surge and severely eroded the bespanches.
“It was terrifying,” Killer said of the rising water. She is the daughter-in-law of TCPalm outdoors writer Ed Killer.
Killer’s home is south of the Palm City Bridge, at the east end of Southwest 31st Street. At least two other neighboring homes sustained water intrusion.
Killer walked through her home, where belongings were stacked off the floor, and pointed out how high the water rose. She said they threw out most of their furniture, but still have appliances. Cabinets are warped.
“We saved our bed and our futon and we put them up on cinder blocks,” Killer said. “We saved what we could, moved a lot of it up on top of our bed, on top of our futon.”
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Bob Pelosi and his wife, Ruth Pelosi, both 77, live directly in front of Killer, and have been there since 1975. Bob Pelosi said this was their 20th hurricane.
Ruth Pelosi said her home and that of the Killers were built in the 1940s and 1950s before people knew about elevating the property.
“Great view, but if you live by the water, one day you’ll live in the water,” Ruth Pelosi said.
Ruth Pelosi said with Nicole “only” 3 inches of water came in. During hurricanes Frances and Jeanne in 2004 they got 18 inches of water inside.
During Nicole, Bob Pelosi said they tried to bail out water as it starting coming in.
“It was getting so far ahead of us we just gave up and went to bed about midnight, and then yesterday (Thursday) morning the tide had gone down and we started bailing water out,” Bob Pelosi said.
Ruth Pelosi said they used a wet vac, which holds 8 to 10 gallons, to suction up water.
“We filled that at least 25 or 30 times in order to get all of the water out of the living room, dining room, kitchen, laundry room and the two bedrooms and the bathroom,” Ruth Pelosi said.
The Pelosis are on a drainage system that uses a septic tank.
“I don’t know how our system works when there’s 2 feet of water over the drainfield,” Bob Pelosi said.
Next door, Ashley Maytin, said several inches of water intruded into a bedroom shared by her daughters, Liliana, 6, and 4-year-old Luna. They also lost several planks on their dock, and a detached garage was flooded.
“We had to take the floor out and dry everything out with industrial fans,” Maytin said of her daughters’ bedroom. “It receded when the water went back down, so the water came out on its own, most of it.”
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Maytin said her husband, Rolando Maytin, labeled the floor sections to know how to put them back together, and by Friday morning it was tough to tell water had been in the room.
“We’ve done this before,” Ashley Maytin said.