New sinkholes open in Florida, Maryland, at White House

By Sommer Brokaw

May 22 (UPI) -- Four new sinkholes have opened up beneath a western Florida retirement community that was hit by several others months ago, officials said.

The new sinkholes were found in a fast-growing retirement community in The Villages, Fla., about 45 miles northwest of Orlando.


Marion County Sheriff's deputies said two of the holes are on individual properties, one is off the road and one reopened under a golf course.

Roads were shut down in the danger zones while crews investigated.

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"This big thing is unbelievable," Frank Neumann told Fox News, as he pointed to the largest of the holes in his front yard.

The new holes add to those already formed in his yard and a nearby golf course in February, when Neumann and a neighbor had to evacuate because the growing holes had reached under their homes.

The largest at the time was 35 feet deep and 18 feet wide, WFTV-TV reported.

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Resident Dennis McNeil said he thinks the holes opened due to ground damage from Hurricane Irma last September. There's also an underground pipeline in the area.

"The engineers that have checked this out are convinced it was a sinkhole that caused the pipe to collapse not the pipes that caused the sink holes," development supervisor Don Deakin said. "The pipe was a drain pipe not under an water pressure and it would not have the force to create the kinds of holes that occurred."


Residents in Maryland are also dealing with sinkholes after widespread flooding.

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In Frederick, Md., sinkholes opened Monday as heavy rain hit the area. The Maryland State Highway Administration said a sinkhole also closed down a highway in the state capital, Annapolis.

A sinkhole was also reported Tuesday at the White House in nearby Washington, D.C. It appeared outside the office of deputy press secretary Hogan Gidley, and was cordoned off.

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