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


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    Hurricane Irma knocked down trees, power lines and caused flooding throughout Seminole County. 

    Some of the damage included a possible sinkhole that swallowed a van in the parking lot of an apartment complex in Winter Springs. 

    The driver, David, said he was on his way to help his girlfriend and her daughter.

    “I was over in Sanford and my girlfriend was having some problems with her roof leaking. I was afraid it was going to pull the roof off the house,” he said.  “Her dad lives in Oviedo so I was trying to get her and her daughter out there. Emergency services couldn’t come out.”

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    He said the hole opened as he tried to pull up to her house.

    Photos: Seminole County damage after Irma

    “So I drove from Sanford to here to get her to Oviedo, and as I was in the parking lot, the road just basically gave away on me. I was stuck inside and I called 911 and they instructed me how to get out of the van,” he said. “I had to pull myself up in the side rails and when I got by the fender wheel I was able to get my foot by the window and get myself out.” 

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    There was some countywide flooding and the majority of traffic lights were out Monday, officials said.

    County officials said 75 percent of is residents and businesses were without power.

    A possible sinkhole formed on Wade Street in Winter Springs, officials said.

    Wade Street at Franklin Street will be closed until further notice due to the flood damage, officials said.

    Some roadways in Winter Springs had reopened Tuesday as crews dealt with the flooding and damage.

    Reopened roads include:

    • Hayes Road at Alton Road
    • Winter Springs Boulevard between Seneca Boulevard and Northern Way

    Northern Way between Mt. Laurel Drive and Brown Bear Court will be closed until further notice due to flood damage, officials said.

    Authorities worked Monday to clear the roads after the county was hit with about 13 inches of rain and 45 to 65 mph wind gusts overnight.

    The Black Hammock area was badly hit and is inaccessible, authorities said.

    Cranes Roost Park was also flooded after the storm. 

    Residents near the Little Wekiva River said the flooding in their neighborhood is worse than Hurricane Charley. 

    Resident Elaine Sandlak has lived in the area for 40 years, but this was the first time flood waters ever got so close to her home.

    "Sometimes, you know, you're worried about, 'I need to cut the lawn,' or, 'I need to make something for supper,'" she said. "And you don't realize a day like this comes."

    Families there said they were rescued from their flooded homes. 

    Watch: Flooding in neighborhoods around Little Wekiva River

    Airport Boulevard and State Road 1792 to Ronald Reagan Boulevard are shut down, officials said.

    Sanitary sewer pump stations have reported outages throughout Altamonte Springs. Residents are asked to minimize usage.

    A group of residents in Altamonte Springs joined forces to clean up downed trees in their neighborhood. The trees were knocked down Sunday night into Monday morning when Hurricane Irma rolled in.

    Watch: Residents help each other clean after Irma


    Police officers in citied throughout the county were guarding businesses to prevent looting. 

    No injuries were reported. 

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