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Sinkholes appear in central Florida neighborhood after Hurricane Irma's heavy rains

September 22, 2017 - 11:56 am
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(NEW YORK) -- A pair of sinkholes have opened up in a central Florida neighborhood after hurricane Irma hit the state earlier this month.

Tuesday morning, a huge sinkhole swallowed part of a home in Apopka, Florida, a city 18 miles northwest of Orlando.

Luckily, the residents, Ellen and Garry Miller, were not injured in that sinkhole.

"We made it through the hurricane. We were really, really lucky, and then this," Miller told ABC-affiliate WFTV. "This is the only home I know. It's the only home my kids know."

Unfortunately, the Millers are not alone in their plight, as just down the street from them, another sinkhole formed yesterday.

The newest sinkhole is about 30 feet wide, according to an Orange County Fire Rescue spokesperson, and is about 100 feet from a house. Officials told WFTV the residents are not being asked to evacuate and should simply monitor the sinkhole situation.

 Dave Carpenter lives near the newest sinkhole and told WFTV he's distressed by it.

"You'd have to be crazy not to be worried about it if one opens right next door to you," Carpenter told WFTV.

It's not yet clear if Irma can be blamed for the sinkholes, but a local expert said they tend to show up after hurricanes.

“When you have heavy rains, the chances of sinkholes [appearing goes] up quite a bit,” Dr. Manoj Chopra, a University of Central Florida engineering professor, told WFTV.

Chopra told WFTV he expects more sinkholes will form throughout the state in the coming weeks.

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