Hurricane Irma: Rising water levels in Seminole County lakes major concern

by: WFTV Web Staff Updated:

SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. - Seminole County officials are worried about rising rivers throughout the county in Irma’s wake.

The St. Johns River is flooding communities along its banks, which include the residents living around Lake Harney by State Road 46 and Geneva.

Lake Harney’s waters have already begun to rise, flooding roads and turning people’s driveways into lakes.

The Florida Highway Patrol was keeping a close eye on State Road 46 as the St. John River was expected to rise Thursday.

If the waters rise far enough, troopers may have to shut down the road.

As of Wednesday night, all lanes of State Road 46 remained open.

Many residents have started to move out not just because of the water, but because of downed power lines.

Seminole County: Irma damage includes flooding, possible sinkhole that swallowed van

Parts of Whitcomb Drive are already underwater in Geneva, along with several yards and driveways.

About 20-30 homes are threatened, but that could rise to nearly 100 over the next couple of days.

Resident Terrell Brackens said he’s staying for now. Lake Harney is usually 50 feet from his home, but now it’s less than 50 feet away and getting closer.

Some of the homes are on stilts, but not resident Bob Zwarycz.

His home is not on stilts, but he said it’s elevated.

“Our house is good, it’s still above flood water,” he said. “The garage is probably the lower thing that is still dry right now.”

The rising water in Lake Harney bottlenecks to Lake Jesup and makes its way to the Sanford area at Lake Monroe.

Photos: Seminole County damage after Irma

Officials said it could take weeks for the water to recede, and incoming rain isn’t going to help.

“All of the homes that are right up around the late could get up 1 to 2 feet of water inside those homes,” said Seminole County Emergency Manager Alan Harris.

Officials are using Lake Harney to try and forecast what’s going to happen upstream in placed like Lake Jesup and Lake Monroe.

Seminole County Emergency Management said there are sandbag locations throughout the county.

More than 50 people rescued from flood waters in Altamonte Springs neighborhood