St. Johns River floods Astor community
LAKE COUNTY, Fla. – Along the Highway 40 bridge near the St. Johns River, the flowing river has crested its banks and is now spilling right into a low-lying Astor neighborhood.
Most of the Lake County homes are now surrounded by a lake of water. Streets have turned into streams and the homes look like little islands. One homeowner came out in his rain boots, but told News 6 he does not have water inside the home, at least not yet. It would just take an inch or two of water to change that, which is what worries all the people who live here.
"I have never seen it like this," said Bill Hamil, who lives here along with more than a dozen other people just off Highway 40 and Old River Lane. He said he's lived here 20 years and even tried putting up a seawall around his home just in case, but it didn’t work.
"It's probably two feet over the seawall, and I'm shocked as of yesterday how much has flowed in this area," Hamil said. "We're all pretty much trying to get our important stuff out to drier ground."
The Lake County Sheriff's Office has issued a flood warning and authorities are patrolling the St. Johns River to make sure people abide by the no-wake policy they have instituted here because of the precarious situation.
"There have been so many sightseers, I wish they would slow down," Hamil said, watching a truck drive by. "As you see, he's pushing a pretty good wake of water and that really is not helping."
The Lake County Sheriff's Office has also set up a Mobile Command Center at the First Baptist Church of Astor just in case the water rises even higher.
For now, Hamil and his neighbors hope and pray that doesn't happen.
Some residents are even pushing and stacking their furniture in the center of their homes, just in case this water does start seeping inside.
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