Seminole County sees historic flooding from Hurricane Ian

Emergency manager Alan Harris says flash flooding began around 3:15 a.m.

Hurricane Ian brought “unprecedented historic flooding” to Seminole County, with continued flash flood warnings on Thursday.

SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla.Hurricane Ian brought “unprecedented historic flooding” to Seminole County, with continued flash flood warnings on Thursday.

The storm downgraded to a tropical storm around 5 a.m., but it is expected to bring more rain through Central Florida throughout the day.

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Alan Harris, Seminole County emergency manager, said flash flooding started around 3:15 a.m.

Harris said the communities that reported flooding include:

  • Altamonte Springs
  • Geneva
  • Lake Mary
  • Heathrow
  • Wekiva
  • Winter Springs

“Really just about anywhere in the county you can find localized flooding,” he said. “Most all tributaries in the St. Johns River and Little Wekiva River are all in flood stage. Along the Little Wekiva River we are at historic level, never been at this point in recorded history.”

According to county officials, the rain flooded over 1,000 homes and counting and washed out several roadways, including State Road 46 and Interstate 4. Additionally, the neighborhoods of Lincoln Heights, Spring Oaks, and Mockingbird Lane experienced record-breaking floods. Crews also estimate about 1 million cubic yards of debris throughout the county.

Sheriff Dennis Lemma said Thursday afternoon his office lost 10 patrol vehicles as a result of the storm, either to flooding or debris falling on the vehicles.

A News 6 viewer shared a photo of flooding in Longwood on Penelope Drive near E. E. Williamson Road off I-4.

Penelope Drive near E. E. Williamson Road in Longwood (Copyright 2022 by WKMG ClickOrlando - All rights reserved.)

Seminole County officials said the flooding from Little Wekiva River, which has been at the center of numerous restoration efforts, is expected to spill over into the Spring Oaks neighborhood.

The Seminole County Fire Department said they have received 250 calls to 911 about downed power lines and some accidents. In an effort to provide support to emergency calls, Chief Matt Kinley said the department would be delaying response to non-emergency calls.

Sheriff Dennis Lemma said Harris would be signing executive orders to penalize people driving through water who are splashing water onto homes or property and to keep motorized boats from roadways.

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About the Author:

Brenda Argueta is a digital journalist who joined in March 2021. She graduated from UCF and returned to Central Florida after working in Colorado.