Flooding, sinkholes, mosquitoes — problems linger from last week’s storms

Oct 14, 2011

The following article was posted to the Channel 13 cfnews13.com website on October 14, 2011:

Flooding, sinkholes, mosquitoes — problems linger from last week’s storms

By Greg Pallone, Heather Sorentrue and Jason Wheeler

While many Central Floridians are getting ready to enjoy a beautiful weekend, some are still dealing with the affects of last weekend’s storms.

Flooding is still a concern in part of the area. In Marion County, crews are still pumping water out of retention areas where the water is too high, or already flooded.

For those who work, live or play along the St Johns River, it’s always touch and go after a big storm moves through the area, especially a storm that dumps a lot of water in Brevard County.

The river flows south to north, and usually a week after the big rains hit, the river levels begin to spike in Volusia County.

Following last weekend’s no-name storm, this week is no different. But the flooding doesn’t appear to be that widespread.

At the Tropical Resort and RV Park in DeLand, Bette Bush saw her office flood in the weeks after Tropical Storm Fay dumped record amounts of rain in Brevard.

This time around, she said the water levels along Lake Beresford, which is fed by the St Johns, were about 1-foot to 1.5 feet lower because of the drought we’ve experienced over the summer.

Bush said some boat owners had trouble getting their boats in and out of the water because the water was so low. 

“We’ve got plenty of play right now,” Bush said. “It’s up where people can get their boats in and out of the water with no problem.”

It also means there’s plenty of room for any more rise of the water levels.

To the north, at the bridge connecting DeLand and Astor, the clearance level of the bridge for boat traffic is around 15 feet. Last week, it was around 17 feet and there’s a few more feet to go before the river moves over the seawall at Ed Stone Park.

One park attendant said the influx of fresh water has meant fishing is better than it’s been in quite some time.

The small enclave of homes at Stone Island Estates has seen a fair share of flooding woes.

While one boat ramp at nearby Mariner’s Cove Park is underwater, it doesn’t appear any homes on the island are close to seeing water come in.


It’s time to sell pumpkins for the folks at Rockledge Church of the Nazarene as they help raise money for their church daycare.

Weekend rain is still ponding in their grass parking lot.

But being open until 9 p.m. makes it an invitation for mosquitoes.

“Definitely is a concern,” said Janette Martin, a church member. “They can transmit diseases that can be deadly.”

More than a foot of rain fell in parts of the county last weekend.

The standing water remains, providing fertile ground for the biting insects to breed.

County officials expect mosquitoes to spread all over, severely in some areas.

Mosquito control employees will be watching as much of the county as they can to see where they need to spray.

“We’re going to see a lot of mosquito eggs hatch and create some problems,” said Peter Taylor from Mosquito Control. “We’re looking primarily at floodwater mosquitoes right now. And they like to bite people.”

Officials said mosquitoes will be prevalent Saturday through Monday, so make sure you bring along lots of repellant.

For information on reporting mosquitoes in your area, call either of these numbers.

If you live from the Wickham Road exit on I-95 southward to Indian River County, call (321) 952-4523.

For all areas north of Wickham Road to Volusia County, call (321) 264-5032.


Meanwhile, sinkholes are popping up across the area. The city of Ocala reports 12 sinkholes on city public property caused by the storm. Crews are in the process of filling those sinkholes now.

Marion County’s school district is dealing with several sinkholes on school properties. While many of the sinkholes are not in areas students frequent, all need to be filled as soon as possible just in case a child does fall into one. The district, however, does not have the money to cover the cost of fixing the sinkholes.

Life has been in disarray for one Marion County family after a huge sinkhole forced them to flee from their own home.

Beth and Chris Antis won’t even bring their kids back to their home on NE 13th Street after the sinkhole opened up Monday morning.

“It’s tearing our whole family, it’s tearing everybody up,” Beth Antis said while fighting back tears. “It’s hard to be strong when you have something like this. You don’t realize how hard it is when you don’t have a home to come to.”

The sinkhole is so massive that it swallowed the family’s SUV.

The ground under part of their front porch is also gone, and the county posted a sign warning them not to go back inside.

“How do you pick up the pieces from this? I mean, we’re trying the best we can, but it’s so very hard,” Beth Antis said.

The family is staying with relatives, but with four children, they’re scrambling to find a better fit.

At the same time, the couple is juggling calls with insurance companies and wondering when they’ll be able to sleep in their own beds again.

“We’ve lost peace of mind,” Chris Antis said. “We don’t even feel comfortable being in this house. It’s just losing pride. The community has really reached out, but we don’t like to ask for help.”

The family estimates the sinkhole is around 30 feet deep. They spraypainted white lines around it to check if it’s growing.

So far, it hasn’t.

But, two smaller sinkholes have also opened up on their property.

The couple is now struggling to understand why they were the ones who had to take such a hard hit from the storm.

“You’re a good person. You go to work everyday. You try to raise your family. It just doesn’t make sense,” Beth Antis said. “It’s just hard on the heart.”

Find this article here:  http://www.cfnews13.com/article/news/2011/october/329659/Flooding-sinkholes-mosquitoes–problems-linger-from-last-weeks-storms