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Polk Co. woman prepares for home to be flooded after Crooked Lake continues to rise

Posted at 4:22 PM, Aug 26, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-27 08:05:02-04

Crooked Lake’s water level keeps rising and one Polk County woman isn’t taking any chances.
Linda Bell has watched the water as it has slowly crept up closer to her home, now consuming her deck and showing no signs of stopping.

“It’s come up and down up and down,” Bell says her although three sides of her home are surrounded by water, it has never flooded when she has lived there.

In 2004, it was a different story after Hurricane Charley, Frances and Ivan all slammed into Florida. Then, Bell says she was told the home had four feet of water inside. Since then though, there has not been issues until now.

“I think oh my goodness this is crazy high,” she said, looking out on to her deck. If you look close, small fish are swimming above the water-proof deck.

ABC Action News took a trip around Crooked Lake and noticed numerous docks underwater. Just blocks from the lake, Bob’s Landing Mobile Home park is also partially under water and has been for a couple of weeks.

“This is definitely the worst it’s been,” John Roberts, a long-time Babson Park residents points out to the water where a dock used to be and says he’s never seen the full dock but can tell how how the water is getting by the posts barely sticking out above the water.

Next to the missing dock is a boathouse Roberts claims use to be well above the water. Roberts tells ABC Action news decades ago his family used to grill under the boathouse on a concrete slab, but now water is just a foot below the bottom of the boathouse. Roberts blames intense Florida rainstorms.

“The yard keeps getting shorter and shorter as everything comes in,” he says.

According to Polk County Commissioner Rick Wilson calls it a tough situation, saying Crooked Lake Was 30 feet higher than it is currently in the mid 1900's.
Wilson attributes the problem to the lake only having one drain which had been put in during the 1950's and had not been maintained well. Wilson says the drain was grown over but has since been cleaned out. The commissioner estimates it could take more than a year for Crooked Lake's water level to even out.

Polk County Roads and Drainage Division also tells ABC Action News thick vegetation around the drain coupled with heavy rains for the last couple of years lead to the flooding. On Thursday crews began clearing the drain and finished Saturday evening.