Third hole in week opens up in Apopka, officials say​

Northbound traffic on State Road 429 diverted to shoulder lane

By Melodi Smith - Multimedia Journalist

APOPKA, Fla. - Florida Highway Patrol said a third hole opened up Thursday night near Kelly Park Road.

The hole is located on State Road 429 about a mile south of Kelly Park Road, where two sinkholes developed this week, officials said.

[PICS: Sinkhole eats home]

Northbound traffic lanes on State Road 429 have been diverted to the shoulder lane.

The holes opened less than two weeks after Hurricane Irma ripped through the area.

Devo Seereeram, an Orange County sinkhole consultant, said that the openings are not uncommon after that sort of weather and are related to the heavy flux of water that enters the ground during the storm.

"Within 4-6 weeks after a storm event, you will see sinkholes developing and then it will stop." Seereeram said.

He said that the ground will eventually get drier as it returns to equilibrium, which is when the holes tend to open.

Orange County's geographical characteristics make it possible to see the full spectrum of potential for sinkholes to develop, according to Seereeram. The area where the holes have opened is more likely to see holes because it is thinly mantled, he said.

Earlier this week, a home was evacuated after a 25-foot-wide sinkhole opened up, swallowing at least half of the house on the same road. 

Read: Sinkholes: How do they form, what causes them

An additional hole estimated to be 30 feet in diameter was discovered Thursday in a yard of another home on W. Kelly Park near Mount Plymouth Road, Orange County Fire Rescue said.

Other Central Florida counties have seen similar conditions since the storm.

"Stormwater runoff into ponds after the maximum force and dozens of sinkholes dropped out in the Ocala area during Irma and that is normal in that area," Seereeram said.

Seereeram said 56 Irma-related sinkholes opened in Marion County and some in Gainesville.

Similar to other damage that follows storms, such as flooding, power outages and debris, he said sinkholes are something Central Floridians have to ride out until conditions eventually settle, but he suggests they use extra caution in the meantime.

"This is a slow motion hazard and we need to ride it out for six weeks, but at the same time those folks living at that are need to be a little more cautious. They need to take a look at the grounds on their yards to see if they have any depressions," Seereeram said.

If the holes open more than six weeks after the storm though, Seereeram said people should not assume they're associated with Irma.

Stay with ClickOrlando.com for more on this developing story.​

Read: Sinkholes: How do they form, what causes them

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