Close

Sun Subscriber Website Login






Please wait....

 
 
News Story
Updated: 04/24/2017 02:48:27PM

South of county still stays soggy

Share this story:


Phil Attinger/News-Sun

Kaye Anglebrandt stands by the palm tree in her yard to show how far it has fallen since floods in September soaked hers and neighbors' yards in Sunshine RV Park in Lake Placid. Even after several inches of water was pumped off the property since then, her yard is still soaked.

Phil Attinger/News-Sun

Kaye Anglebrandt steps carefully through her yard in Sunshine RV Park in Lake Placid. The yard is still soaked after almost two months since park owners pumped off floodwaters. She and a neighbor said the park, which didn't usually flood, has seen standing water every rainy season for four years.

Phil Attinger/News-Sun

Buckled home skirting at the Sunshine RV Park home of Kaye Anglebrandt and her husband shows how ground may have sunk during September floods. She and other neighbors have said they've suffered damage to appliances, air-conditioning ducts and homes themselves as a result of heavy surface water amounts over the last four rain seasons.

Phil Attinger/News-Sun

Standing water under 47 Pryor Lane in Lake Placid demonstrates how long rains have stayed in and around some homes in the area. In addition to flooded yards in Venus and Sun 'N Lakes Lake Placid, residents in mobile home parks, like this one in Sunshine RV Park, have seen standing water after rains this year and many years before this.

Courtesy photo

Water stands after September rains on Pryor Lane in Sunshine RV Park in Lake Placid. Residents said it took a lot of pumping to get the flood waters to recede, but they're still left with damaged homes, appliances and air-conditioners, as well as standing water in yards breeding mold and mosquitos.

Courtesy photo

A pump siphons away in September behind homes on Hershey Lane in Sunshine RV Park. Residents said the floodwaters have left, but soggy lawns with standing water have remained, leaving a health hazard with mosquitos and mold.

Courtesy photo

Gene and Carol Stoker couldn't walk and could barely drive across their yard and driveway — here marked by reflector posts — after heavy rains in September. They complained at the time how other properties pumping off water may have aggravated their situation. Highlands County Engineer Clinton Howerton Jr. said the problem may be a high water table, and high water levels may stay high for many years.

Phil Attinger/News-Sun

A Leisure Lane resident in Venus gets unexpected guests Wednesday with a flock of Canadian geese dropping in for a day. Water remains in some yards, an overflow from canals in the rural subdivision and a remnant of flooding from September.

Courtesy photo

The view from a home on Hershey Lane in Sunshine RV Park shows how floodwaters got up around air-conditioning units in September. Residents said many of them had to replace ducts and repair the heat pumps thanks to damage from high water and mold.

Courtesy photo

Gene and Carol Stoker couldn't walk and could barely drive across their yard and driveway — here marked by reflector posts — after heavy rains in September. They complained at the time how other properties pumping off water may have aggravated their situation. Highlands County Engineer Clinton Howerton Jr. said the problem may be a high water table, and high water levels may stay high for many years.

Courtesy photo

Gene and Carol Stoker couldn't walk and could barely drive across their yard and driveway — here marked by reflector posts — after heavy rains in September. They complained at the time how other properties pumping off water may have aggravated their situation. Highlands County Engineer Clinton Howerton Jr. said the problem may be a high water table, and high water levels may stay high for many years.

By PHIL ATTINGER

Text Size:


LAKE PLACID — Kaye Anglebrandt has a palm tree leaning over in her front yard, a yard full of soggy muck under the turf; the skirting on her mobile home has buckled from where, she said, soil has settled.

She and her neighbors, like other Lake Placid and Venus-area residents, found themselves surrounded by water after September’s downpours and Hurricane Matthew’s rainbands. After nearly two months of sunshine and pumping the southeast quadrant of the park, yards haven’t fully dried yet.

Anglebrandt said water got in her carport room and killed the compressor on a refrigerator. When she and her husband returned this week, they had to throw out rotten food and the appliance. Her neighbor, Charlotte Zoscak, had to replace a washing machine she had up on 3-inch blocks. Like other neighbors, Zoscak said she had to fix her air-conditioner and replace ducts, full of mold.

Meanwhile, Anglebrandt said, people sitting outside breathe in black mold off the sides of houses, thanks to stagnant water in the yards.

Anglebrandt’s next-door neighbors have left, she said. The home has a damaged heat pump and standing water underneath it, where, Anglebrandt said, “critters” live. She said a water moccasin crawled out from under there last year.

The worst, Anglebrandt said, is the bugs. “My screens look like mosquito wallpaper,” Anglebrandt said.

They’ve asked the Florida Department of Health - Highlands County to look at the situation and hope to get a report back soon.

Zoscak bought in 1999; Anglebrandt more recently in 2013. Zoscak said flooding never happened until the last four years. County Engineer Clinton Howerton Jr. told the Highlands County Commission Tuesday those last four years have had heavy rainfall, but any remaining water isn’t rain.

“If it’s still wet, then it’s no longer surface water,” Howerton said. “That’s a ground water table issue.”

In the last 100 years, rainfall has averaged 52 inches per year, based on weather stations in the Sebring area and at Archbold Biological Station in Venus. This year, Archbold measured 55.74 inches, and it’s been higher in the last four years:

• 58.56 inches in 2012.

• 63.65 inches in 2013.

• 60.64 inches in 2014.

• 62.27 inches in 2015.

After 25 years of below-average rainfall — except for a few spikes from 1997-2005, Howerton said, the last five years replenished the water table at a high level. It’s 8-10 inches above the 25-year average, “which is significant,” Howerton said. It’s now closer to the norm. Depending on soils, people may see wet yards for years.

Zoscak said the park installed storm drains over the summer and ran pumps to clear the rainwater in September. Community Safety Director Scott Canaday said they had a permit from the Southwest Florida Water Management District.

Howerton said pumping works, as long as water has some place to go.

Gene and Carol Stoker of Martin Street, north of State Road 70 from the mobile home park, dealt with a flooded yard and driveway in September. Snakes, fish and alligators swam through their front yard, and they had to drive their Ford Expedition through the water — risking damage — if they wanted to reach their house.

Some county officials said the water had come from mobile home parks pumping off their rainwater. Howerton isn’t so certain that’s where it came from, but it couldn’t help the situation.

At Leisure Lane in Venus, the county got a downstream landowner to agree to open a water control device and flood his land to help clear water from around homes.

“That whole area was the bottom of a bowl,” Howerton said. “It’d be a lake without the discharge sluice.”

As of Wednesday, Leisure Lane still had topped-off canals threatening to flow over the road again. It’s brought some guests from Canada: A flock of geese had settled in for a swim in a back yard, appropriately, at Leisure Lane and Vacation Drive.


Reader Comments (0)

Previous Page | Next Page



ADVERTISEMENT