Family walks, kayaks across flooded yard to safety

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A Lakeland family found themselves kayaking across their flooded yard on Monday morning.

Ansley Morris, her family of three generations, and animals watched water rising overnight in their home on Yates Road as Hurricane Irma traveled through Polk County. Water rose up to 20 inches, she said. All eight people, including a one-week old, and eight animals, ran up to the second floor for the duration of the storm and night.

Luckily, neighbors, who had kayaks, came to the rescue after the sun came out. The Good Samaritans waded through about two feet of water as they transported dogs and people on their kayak to dryer land. Some of the relatives walked through the waters too, and carrying the newborn in his baby carriage.

Morris said the entire night was stressful.

“I’m glad we could be there with my family,” she said. “That was a whole new scary.”

Other homes on Yates Road saw similar flooding. One resident said after the storm died down and the power went out, he started checking out the house. That’s when he noticed water began creeping in.

“I tried to get some towels but the water kept coming in,” he said. "Then, my wife says there’s water coming in from the other side, and I look over and there’s a foot of water above the door. It just rushed in.”

Residents along Yates Road tell FOX 13 the flooding occurred because a nearby creek began rising during the storm. They said the last night it happened was Hurricane Charley hit Florida in 2004, but the flooding wasn't as extensive.