Record rainfall: 5-plus inches drench Sanford, these other Central Florida cities

Large hole opens near Fort Mellon Park

SANFORD, Fla. – Monday, The city of Sanford said it is putting together a master plan to continue to address the city’s collection system and infrastructure after a heavy downpour Sunday washed out portions of downtown Sanford.

Despite these issues, the city said things could have been worse. The city said it has used close to $2 million in grant money over the past two years to improve its sewer system. City leaders believe that work cut down on Sunday’s overflow compared to another storm one year ago.

Rain fell nonstop late Sunday across Central Florida, bringing record amounts to several cities, including Sanford, where a large hole opened near a park.

Sanford received 5.17 inches of rain, shattering its daily record, which was 2.03 inches. The official rainfall amount may be adjusted Monday to an even higher amount.

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The flooding waters created a large pothole, which is several feet deep, on 1st Street at Chapman Avenue near Fort Mellon Park. Sanford police tweeted that the roads are closed in the area.

Cellphone video showed the patio at the Breezeway Restuarant in downtown Sanford almost like a river. Diners were stuck in their seats for about 30 minutes.

Michelle Simoneaux, owner Colonial Room Restuarant in downtown Sanford, said roads washed were out and cars were barely able to make it through. Some of that high water even made its way inside her restaurant.

“If we weren’t here, we would not have been able to open today. There’s no doubt when we got here Monday morning the whole restaurant would have been flooded,” Simoneaux said. “Roads were flooded, the sidewalk was flooded.”

Most of the water drained away by early Monday, but several other streets were closed Sunday night due to the deluge. Police said several vehicles became stalled in water, prompting drivers to call tow trucks for assistance.

“The car just got flooded in the side and it just got stuck there and it won’t turn on and they couldn’t pull me out,” a driver said.

Well we got stuck in Downtown Sanford. A little delayed on the “Flash Flood Warnings” Seminole, geez. 😳

Posted by Nicole Miaoulis on Sunday, September 19, 2021

Pet Rescue by Judy posted on Facebook that the rain flooded its facility on South Laurel Avenue in Sanford.

“We need dog walkers (Monday) and fosters ASAP,” the post said.

Anyone interested in helping can call 407-302-4497.

Sandbags remained outside of restaurants on Monday. Inside Hollerbach’s Restaurant, fans were left running to dry out the dining room after Sunday’s flooding.

“My staff calls and says ‘the restuarant is flooding,’” Theo Hollerbach, the owner said.“

Hollerbach said he excepts about $5,000-$10,000 in repairs and lost wages, all as he’s still working with Sanford city leaders to try and prevent this in the future.

“The city is working the citizens and local businesses, we’ve had discussions and they have it on their budgets,” he said.

Read more of the city’s statement here:

Sanford was the only city to get record rainfall.

Orange City, Lake Mary and DeLand all received over 5 inches of rain on Sunday.

More flooding rain is expected across the region on Monday.

About the Author:

Daniel started with WKMG-TV in 2000 and became the digital content manager in 2009. When he's not working on, Daniel likes to head to the beach or find a sporting event nearby.