Storms cause severe flooding in downtown Sanford

SANFORD, Fla. — Parts of Sanford in Seminole County were underwater on Sunday night after it received a record amount of rainfall.

On Monday the water was gone, but the problem still exists.

Photos: Record rainfall leads to flash floods, large washout in Sanford

The record amount of rain caused flooding on several streets, as well as some homes and businesses. There was also a large washout near Ft. Mellon Park.

According to a press release from the city, all of the its lift stations remain fully operational and are constantly monitored.

The release also stated that city staff from stormwater, public works, and the utility departments worked through the night to ensure that all stormwater inlets were cleared of debris.

Mayor Art Woodruff explained, “the downtown businesses that experience this overflow are built at a low elevation relative to today’s standards. We have been aware of this problem and are spending about $1 million per year to seal the system and prevent inflows. It appears there was some improvement since our last major rainstorm, but we will continue to work to improve the system.”

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On Monday, the historic district in downtown Sanford was back to normal, although from sandbags to city water trucks, sign of last night’s severe weather were everywhere.

Customers were back out eating at Hollerbach’s Willow Tree after they had to close last night due to flooding.

Cell phone video taken during Sunday’s storm showed customers at the Breezeway Restaurant lifting up their legs to avoid the rushing water.

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Christina Hollerbach, CEO of Hollerbach’s Willow Tree, told Channel 9 that flooding had been an issue for some time now.

“It’s the anniversary of the last time we had such a mini disaster, so we joked that we should just close on Sept. 19th,” Hollerbach said. “It must be a bad day.”

Hollerbach added, “it’s a problem with old cities. You’ve got old equipment. Our city has been really responsive.”

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According to the city, Sunday’s overflows were fewer and discharged much less volume than observed during a storm event one year ago, due to ongoing rehabilitation work on the collection system.

Sanford officials said the city has completed nearly $2 million in grant-funded sewer evaluation and rehabilitation.

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Sanford was not the only area that got hit bad by all that water. The city of Midway, which had no sewer system and is on septic, also saw flooding.

Several roads around the airport also saw some flooding.

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Jeff Levkulich

Jeff Levkulich, WFTV.com

Jeff Levkulich joined the Eyewitness News team as a reporter in June 2015.