Heavy rain continues to saturate area

Westgate Publix parking lot flooded
The new Westgate Publix parking lot recently had issues with excessive rainfall over the last week. (Photo by Megan V. Winslow)
Photo by Megan V. Winslow

Alachua County Parks and Open Space Department has closed all the Jonesville and Veterans Memorial Parks sports fields until Monday, Sept. 5.  

The decision to close the field protects the turf from damage because of the heavy rainfall, the county said.  

“Sports turf is very delicate, and whenever you get a substantial amount of rain, which we’ve experienced locally over the past few weeks, the turf begins to tear,” Gina Peebles, assistant county manager for Alachua County, said in a statement. “If the rain continues from the tropical storm and the fields don’t dry, we may recommend the sports field remain closed, at least until they dry.” 

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Every year in Florida, hurricane season begins around June 1 and lasts until the end of November. August and September are the most active months during hurricane season.  

While the 2022 hurricane season has been historically quiet, it has been a wet one. This month, the western side of Gainesville received between 10.8 and 12.5 inches of rain with 6.6 inches of that average falling over the last seven days.  

Clouds in Gainesville
Photo by C.J. Gish Evening rainstorms have saturated the region.

The National Weather Service released a flood watch warning on Monday for counties in northeast Florida.  

Forecasters predict the Santa Fe River will reach minor flood stages by this weekend in two locations—the O’Leno and Worthington Springs gages—according to the Suwannee River Water Management District.  

History shows flood warnings after multi-day rain events occur since upstream retention pods lack time to recover their storage volume by percolating the water into the ground. 

“This was a good test of the new pump stations,” Alachua County Public Works Director Ramon D. Gavarrete said in a county press release. “The flooding would have been much worse if we had not made the recent improvements. Similar storm events in the past have flooded homes and roads for days. I am very proud of my dedicated staff.”   

Thanks to Alachua County staff efforts, no roads had to be closed in watershed basins. 

As for Levy County, it experienced minor flooding on local roads.   

“We did have some road closures because of the flooding on County Road 335,” John MacDonald, director of Levy County Emergency Management, said in a phone interview. “For the most part, our county is starting to get saturated. It isn’t all there yet, but it is getting there.” 

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Stop the ridiculous building in this city