Longwood residents say homes dry after Hurricane Irma now in danger

Lake Carter taking on floodwater nearing homes

SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. – Residents of a Seminole County neighborhood that was dry after Hurricane Irma is now worried a lake could flood their homes because the county is pumping in water from other flooded areas.

"These are our sandbags," Kenny Hearn, of Longwood, said Sunday, showing News 6. "These are the ones we're probably going to need to try to bring up to the side of the house."

Kenny and Lora Hearn said they already put out 300 sandbags around their home on Canal Point Road. They're trying to stop the water from Lake Carter behind their house from spilling onto their back porch.

"If this comes in, you can't pump it out," Lora Hearn said. "And it's going to be in our home and under our home for months."

They said the lake water level rose some after Hurricane Irma hit last week, but not to the level it is at now.

The Hearns told News 6 that they had about 35 feet of dry land between their house and the lake right after the storm, but then water started creeping closer to their home. At one point they said it was rising as fast as an inch every hour.

"This water was coming quickly, very quickly," Kenny Hearn said.

They called Seminole County's engineering department and were told the county was drying other flooded areas by pumping the water into their lake.

They say now more than 100 homes that were dry a week ago are in danger of flooding.

"Our neighbor beside us is 1 inch away. The neighbors down the street are a couple inches away. So it's affecting every home on this lake," Lora Hearn said.

News 6 spoke to the Seminole County engineer Sunday. He said the water naturally flows into this lake and there is more of it because of the storm.

He said the pumps the county put in place aren't running all the time and the lake's outflow is completely open.

The county engineer added that right now no homes are flooded and said they are monitoring the levels every day and the water will eventually go down.

But the Hearns are worried that could take too long and they want something done sooner rather than later.

"Once this floods there's no going back until this all recedes," Ken Hearn said. "It's going to be the lake that has entered the home. Once it comes in, it's staying until all of this dries up."

The Hearns told News 6 they have reached out to their county commissioner for help, but have not received any response as of Sunday afternoon.

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