FEMA to open Disaster Recovery Center in Lake County after Hurricane Ian flooding

The Astor center is the 6th to open in Central Florida

Lake County is set to open a Disaster Recovery Center in Astor starting Friday as flooding from Hurricane Ian continues to plague the area.

ASTOR, Fla. – Lake County is set to open a Disaster Recovery Center in Astor starting Friday as flooding from Hurricane Ian continues to plague the area.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency center will open at the First Baptist Church of Astor on Ann Street, and will be open daily from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

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Residents will be able to apply for federal assistance and disaster loans, and talk to representatives from FEMA, the U.S. Small Business Administration and state agencies.

“I was so glad that my daughter thought of having me come here cause I’ve been really scared about what was going to happen you know,” Irene McDougal said.

McDougal, 86, told News 6 she was able to talk to FEMA officials at the Disaster Recover Center in Astor.

She said Hurricane Ian damaged her home in Daytona Beach after a tree fell on her roof.

“I’m so scared because outside it’s so bad. It really looks bad. I mean, I don’t know how they are going to fix it is what I’m thinking, you know, because it looks terrible,” McDougal said.

Flooding has worsened in Astor in recent years, which is located near the St. Johns River. It was especially bad in the wake of Hurricane Ian, as the river overflowed.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers recently received funding to study possible solutions.

Lake County officials said several residents in Astor are still dealing with flooding and it could take weeks for the water to completely recede.

“That’s what we are trying to kind of judge right now is how long it’s going to take for the water to recede. We saw a lot of water coming down from the south. So, St. Johns flows north so we still have a lot of water from other areas that have been inundated with the rainfall,” said Nicholas Gerth, deputy director with Lake County Emergency Management.

Steve and Peg Plummer live right across St. Johns River and said their neighborhood is still underwater.

“We’ve been here 25 years, and this will be our fourth (hurricane) we’ve been through and definitely the worst,” Plummer said.

It is not necessary to visit a center to apply, according to FEMA. Residents can go online to disasterassistance.gov, use the FEMA mobile app or call 800-621-3362.

FEMA also has centers set up in Orange, Osceola, Polk, Seminole and Volusia counties.

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About the Authors:

Christie joined the ClickOrlando team in November 2021.

Ezzy Castro is a multimedia journalist on News 6's morning team who has a passion for telling the stories of the people in the Central Florida community. Ezzy worked at WFOR CBS4 in South Florida and KBMT in Beaumont, Texas, where she covered Hurricane Harvey in 2017. Being from Miami, Ezzy loves Cuban coffee and croquetas!