Twenty-four sink holes in Plant City recently..and counting. There's a 100 foot deep sink hole under a school.
The reason? Farmers have watered the strawberry fields to keep them alive during the extreme cold (for Florida). They will turn the sprinklers on the fields and leave them on if there is to be a freeze during the night. I read that the aquifers went down 60 feet in Plant City. This is a rare and dangerous occurrence.
We have been fortunate in that neither we, nor anyone we know has been affected by the sink holes. We have driven by several of the sink holes though and it's frightening to see all the devastation. It's like an earthquake in that the earth just opens up and swallows homes, roads, whatever is in the way. The financial impact is incredible. When people try to sell homes that have been affected by a sink hole at any time in any way, the owner or realtor has to state that fact. That makes selling the property almost impossible.
We were affected by that watering also. Our well went dry and the pump burned out. We have other friends whose wells went dry as well. That is a temporary thing but because the pump burned out, we have to replace it. The well guy said that in the future if we know the strawberry fields are being sprinkled we should turn out pump off during the nights. Makes sense and wish we had thought to do that before. I didn't dream the water used for the fields could drain wells though.
I don't know what is going to happen but I know something will be done whether it is finding a way to monitor the aquifer levels or they will figure out another way for farmers to keep the strawberry crop from freezing.
Central Florida has already lost so many orange fields to the cold and because it was no longer profitable for some orchard owners to stay in business. Now I'm wondering what the future holds for the Winter Strawberry Capital of the World. Life situations continually change and we are lucky if we can keep up. I wonder if Florida winters are getting too cold. Hard to think so when we are having such sunny mild days now but several freezing nights can change Florida's landscape and perhaps future as well.