Parts of the Suncoast Parkway are still shut down because of flooding due to Tropical Storm Debby, but what’s underneath the water is also a source of concern for Hernando County residents.
Road depressions and sinkholes, which are already a problem in Hernando County, are an even bigger issue since Debby dumped several inches of rain last week.
Nearly 200 sinkholes have showed up throughout Hernando County. Officials said they have received 56 sinkhole reports, many of which have multiple sinkholes at one location.
Headley Wilks is among those residents who now have to deal with sinkholes on their personal property.
“I was surprised,” he said. “All I can say is there’s nothing you can do about it.”
Within days, Wilks said he had two sinkholes appear near his home, including one in his backyard that appears to be about 12 feet wide and more than 15 feet deep.
Wilks also lives near one of the sinkholes that opened on Mariner Road. As a result, he has to endure detour traffic until it is repaired.
“This street is just like the highway, now so I hope they fix the road as soon as possible,” he said.
Hernando County Sheriff Al Nienhuis said repairs are already underway on some roads.
“As far as the ones on public roadways, they’re going to be prioritized,” he said. “We’re still finding new ones everyday.”
Other locations are left with massive holes, some of which are big enough to swallow a car.
“Some of the larger ones are somewhere between the size of a large room in a house and a small house and that goes for the width and breadth as well as the depth,” Nienhuis said. “There can be some pretty good sized ones, ones that you could put a car in with no problem.”
Officials recommend taking the following steps to deal with sinkholes:
- Business owners: Report damage from sinkholes to the Emergency Operations Center at 352-754-4083 as soon as possible.
- Private property owners: Report sinkholes to property owner’s insurance company. The location should be reported to the EOC.
- Public property: Sinkholes should be reported to the Department of Public Works at 352-4060. If the sinkhole leads to a road hazard or imminent danger, please call 911.