Neighbors and park rangers prepare for potential Alafia River flooding

LITHIA, Fla. -- Neighbors living along the Alafia River are preparing for potential flooding.

ABC Action News Meteorologist Jason Adams says the river is expected to go just over flood stage at 13.1 feet, but it also depends on how much rain the area gets over the next few days. 

"You know when you buy that property that it could be an issue," said Paul Miller, a Lithia Springs Park Ranger, about houses near the river.

It is hard to even tell there is a spring at the park. It is normally open for swimming and comes up to about your waist or above your head at the deepest point. 

"Right now if you stand in the boil it’s probably going to be 12 to 15 feet above the top of your head," said Miller.

Miller says if the water continues to rise, roads will be washed out and folks living nearby will not be able to drive to their houses.

"Pretty soon you’ll see them start parking their cars out on Lithia Pinecrest Road and that’s when you know that the house is over there are starting to be affected," Miller said.

On top of that, the water is murky and dirty making it hard to see whats underneath.

Venomous snakes and spiders and other creatures you normally do not see are searching for higher ground and may pose a danger to you.

Miller is suggesting people looking to bicycle on the preserve trail to find another park and to stay off the river when it is like this.

"When you get this amount of rainfall, I think the river normally runs at a two knot current - real slow, real lazy but right now I’ve seen it at this height and at this speed wrap canoes around trees. It's impressive," Miller said.

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