TAMPA — Homes in the sinkhole-plagued community of Seffner could be
sitting on a fracture line linking them to about 20 other sinkholes,
including the 20-foot-deep pit that opened under a home in February and
killed Jeffrey Bush.
And as Hillsborough County enters what one geologist labels "sinkhole weather," the potential for sinkholes to form will only increase.
Since Bush's death brought national attention to sinkholes here, they seem to be sprouting all over Hillsborough, including several in the past week
"You'll get areas that just seem to get active," said Sandy Nettles, a private geologist in Palm Harbor. "It could be any number of things that actually stimulated it, but usually once they start rolling into an area, you get more action."
In Plant City, Tom Manus was told to leave his home on North Country Hills Court after a sinkhole was discovered under his porch Saturday.
On Sunday, a Bob Evans restaurant in Seffner was closed after employees found cracks on the ceiling, floor and walls. Geological tests are ongoing, but that type of damage is associated with sinkholes.
Later that day, a Tampa family on Jean Street was asked to evacuate after a sinkhole developed in the front yard. The home is east of Hesperides Street and a half mile north of Hillsborough Avenue.
On Wednesday, a 30-foot-deep possible sinkhole opened under 138th Avenue at Bruce B Downs Boulevard below a 2010 Nissan Versa. The car drove safely off the road, but its tires were damaged.
Though sinkholes are as much a part of Florida as hurricanes and pythons, their frequency and media coverage in recent months have many wondering whether this string is unusual and where they're coming from.
Experts say the recent bout of heavy rains, including from Tropical Storm Andrea, could lead to a summer of sinkholes.
Susanna Martinez Tarokh, a spokeswoman for the Southwest Florida Water Management District, said there were 150 confirmed sinkholes last year in Hernando County during and immediately after Tropical Storm Debby.
"This is sinkhole weather," said Anthony Randazzo, a retired geology professor at the University of Florida and president of Geohazards Inc. "It's very much to be expected that there would be numerous sinkholes opening up following a tropical storm, especially after a period of drought. This type of weather pattern is very conducive to the triggering of sinkholes." READ MORE