We were happy when the rain stopped and thought things were looking up when the flooding was slowly starting to recede.
Well on Tuesday evening, downtown looked like this:
On Wednesday morning/afternoon it looked like this:
It disappeared so rapidly and no one really had an explanation. They were thinking a sinkhole in a retention pond, but now they believe a sinkhole is formed under the road in downtown - right behind the Courthouse and other local businesses.
Live Oak — The quick, massive rainfall from Tropical Storm Debby has presented another problem for the city of Live Oak - a massive sinkhole that has left a depression in the roadway on Warren Street and has compromised the courthouse and a couple of businesses, according to Live Oak City Administrator Bob Farley.***8232;Shortly after 10 a.m. Thursday, National Guard trucks pulled up to the courthouse on Ohio Avenue (US 129) to begin unloading boxes of records from the compromised building to be transported and stored in a meeting room at the Live Oak Library. The courthouse is without power and will be closed today and until further notice.
“There appears to be a sinkhole,” Farley said of a depression on Warren Street, between Pine and Ohio Avenues. The area, which is just north of the Suwannee County Courthouse, has visible stress lines reaching into the courthouse parking area where the old public library was formerly located.
The Big Wheel Market Place, which is owned by Barney Everett, along with an adjoining building owned by local businessman John Robinson, are compromised and threatened by the depression. The buildings are located on the block between Howard Street and Warren Street. The face Howard Street and back Warren Street. ***8232;The two buildings have visible large cracks and are clearly damaged and appear to be leaning toward each other into the depression.
According to Robinson, he entered his building Wednesday evening and discovered that ceiling tiles had fallen.
In addition to the visible cracks in the parking area near the courthouse and Warren Street, large cracks appeared in the walls of Robinson’s building and the Big Wheel Market Place.
Suwannee County Coordinator Randy Harris believes the rapid disappearance of the downtown flood waters was due to the sinkhole.
“The water had to go somewhere,” Harris stated.
According to Farley, the situation is being evaluated to determine what will be the next course of action. Geologists were on site late Thursday morning as well as the Florida Department of Transportation and sinkhole experts. Meanwhile, the Live Oak Police Department has closed U.S. 90 from Houston Avenue to Ohio Avenue, as well as Pine Avenue and Warren Street.
As Everett and Robinson watch with anticipation, the electrical current has been turned off to the Suwannee County Courthouse and other offices from Warren to Howard Streets between Pine and Ohio Avenues. According to Suwannee County Sheriff Tony Cameron, the Suwannee County Jail does have power and doesn’t appear threatened at this time.
Just one block away, an open sinkhole appeared near the intersection of Suwannee Avenue and Wilbur Street, in the corner of the city’s new parking lot. The round sink hole is approximately six feet in diameter and holding water.
Although the situation of the downtown sinkhole appears threatening, Everett is hoping for the best.
“I hope it’s not under the building,” Everett stated
He hopes it is only affecting the street and sidewalk, but only time can tell. According to Everett, Only time will tell. For now, he remains concerned about the damaged merchandise in his store, which stood in three and a half feet of water during Debby’s downpour.
That isn't the only one, but it is one of MAJOR concern. Those roads are closed (obviously) at the moment. There are 32
new sinkholes in my town. Geez.