POLK COUNTY, Fla. — With Hurricane Dorian on the way, residents on Crooked Lake have even more to worry about than they did before.
The lake's water level was already abnormally high, leaving many of their docks under water.
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Homeowner Linda Bell may have it the worst. Her home on Sunset Drive sits right on the lake and the deck attached to her home is under water.
She said there used to be a dock and beach, but they're now underwater, as well.
“August 2 we had a huge rain," she explained. "It’s been steadily rising since the first part of August."
Bell moved her appliances and furniture out of her home in mid-August. She's currently sleeping on a mattress, holding out in the home as long as she can.
“I am really anxious to see what damage there will be after the hurricane,” Bell added. “It’s scary. I’m staying here until I can’t."
She and other neighbors wish the county had done more to prevent the water from rising so high.
“It’s extremely frustrating," said Jennifer Seely. "There’s no reason in the world the lake level should be this high right now. We’ve had nothing but rain."
“The county has done too little, too late,” Bell said.
Polk County’s Director of Roads and Drainage Jay Jarvis said there’s one canal where water can flow out of Crooked Lake into Lake Clinch, but the county cannot easily access that canal.
“It’s all on private property," Jarvis explained. "The county has no easements, no authority to go in there and do routine maintenance."
After receiving complaints, the county got temporary access to clean out the canal, which they found to be full of vegetation.
Jarvis said the canal is now clear and water is flowing through it again.