'Sinkhole Alley' cause for concern in popular tourist state
Tuesday, May 22, 2018, 8:52 PM - As we prepare for Atlantic hurricane season, which officially starts next week, some experts in Florida are cautioning heavy rain may lead to additional sinkholes, like those that continue to plague The Villages. Sinkholes reopened on Monday in the same spot as ones from three months ago in The Villages, a community between Ocala and Orlando ranked by the U.S. Census as the fastest growing in the country.
That growth may be partly to blame for the proliferation of sinkhole damages, according to Dr. Anthony Randozzo, professor emeritus of geology at the University of Florida. Speaking to a local news agency, Dr. Randozzo called the stretch of land between Tallahassee and I-4 through Central Florida, 'sinkhole alley'. "We're building more and more on land that perhaps we shouldn't build on," Randozzo told News 6, "or we haven't done the appropriate testing before we built on it."
Watch below: News 6 talks to Dr. Randozzo
Sinkholes are, unfortunately, nothing new in Florida, where the underlying geography of limestone and dolostone reacts with groundwater and readily dissolves, making the terrain prone to caves and depressions - and sinkholes. Additional rainfall can exacerbate the problem; Dr. Randozzo said last year's Hurricane Irma caused some 400 sinkholes. While we have yet to see any tropical development so far this year, the past few weeks of heavy rainfall funneled up over the state have likely had a role in sinkhole development.
According to the Marion County sheriff's department, no evacuations have been ordered in association with the new Villages sinkholes. Still, residents are concerned as officials look for the cause of the new holes, and whether or not they are connected with the nearby depressions that opened in February. "A house and half away we got a hole in the ground. Of course I'm nervous," resident Sue Walters told News 6. "We've only been here three years and I didn't know there were sinkholes here." Other residents suggested the damage was related to Hurricane Irma, which caused issues with a drainage system under the area.
Sources: ClickOrlando |