Lake County braces for St. Johns River to flood during Hurricane Dorian

Residents living in Astor fear repeat of flooding that occurred after Irma

Residents who live near the St. Johns River are nervous that it could flood during and after Hurricane Dorian.

On Friday, Lake County Emergency Management Director Tommy Carpenter announced that the St. Johns River was at action stage and is expected to flood midweek if Hurricane Dorian continues on its current track.

That concerns people living in Astor, who are hoping and praying it is not a repeat of what happened during Hurricane Irma. They hope it's not worse either.

Two years ago, the St. Johns River crested and flooded into the low-lying areas surrounding the river banks and flooded numerous nearby homes.

Now with Hurricane Dorian barreling toward Central Florida, many are scared it will be deja vu.

Astor resident Bill Hennigan remembers the flooding in Astor all too well. 

"My house was surrounded by water," Hennigan said. "Six more inches it would have come in. I dodged a bullet."

He's hoping the same will happen this time round.

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"We'll hunker down and pray for the best," Hennigan said.

But for some Lake County residents, this will be their first hurricane in this area.

Carlton Hamm just moved to Astor five months ago and is doing what he can to prepare early since his condo is right on the water.

He's thankful for volunteers such as James DePui, who is volunteering his time and energy to fill sandbags for the community.

"He's great. No doubt," Hamm said.

Right now there are five sandbag locations stationed across Lake County for residents living in the district. Each person is limited to 20 bags.

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The Lake County emergency management director posted a Facebook Live on the county's Facebook page, encouraging those living in mobile and manufactured homes to find a safer place to stay, to pay attention to the weather and to get their disaster supplies ready early, especially water and cash. 

Carpenter encouraged all Lake County residents to be ready by noon on Sunday. A spokesperson for the county announced that there were no shelters open as of Friday afternoon.

An announcement has not yet been made as to when they will open, but residents should be aware of the public shelters near them should that change.

Those shelters are located on the map here.