Parts of Wauchula underwater in aftermath of Hurricane Ian

Parts of the Wauchula area were underwater Thursday after Hurricane Ian dumped rain on an already-saturated Hardee County, Florida.

It was a race against time for rescuers in Wauchula as waters rose from the Peace River, leaving roads completely impassible, homes with water up to their roofs and cars submerged.

The view from SkyFOX showed residents driving pickup trucks through at least three feet of standing water on roadways. Several vehicles were totally submerged.

Link: FOX donates $1M to American Red Cross for Hurricane Ian relief efforts; how you can help too

A large portion of the Sunrise Community off E. Main Street was fully submerged. 

"It's kinda devastating, actually. I'm kinda starting to shake a little bit because this is the first time I've officially seen all of this," resident Leslie Miller said.


The rural part of southwest Florida has seen plenty of precipitation during the rainy season, making Hurricane Ian an unwelcome addition of water. 

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Hardee County is situated just east of Manatee County and northeast of Sarasota County. Hurricane Ian's path cut right through the heart of Hardee, leaving behind feet of water that could take days to recede. 

Some homes appeared to have water up to their roofs. Some residents could be seen driving boats over typically dry land.


Hardee County officials have not begun to report injuries or specific damage in the area.

Firefighters with Hardee County waded through waist deep water to get to the homes where people were waiting on their roofs to be rescued. The Hardee County Sheriff's Office brought in boats and SWAT rescue vehicles to help.


For hours, rescuers made several trips bringing stranded residents and their pets to dry ground. Many have lost everything and now leaning on each other to make it through. 


FOX 13's crew witnessed at least a dozen people get pulled from the floodwaters. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission rescued at least seven people. It will be a clean-up process unlike anything the community of Wauchula has ever been through.