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More sinkholes discovered overnight in Tampa and Hillsborough County

TAMPA — Four more sinkholes were reported in Hillsborough County early Wednesday morning, adding to the list of others that have been blamed on cold weather.

Vida Morgan of the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office said newly formed sinkholes were being investigated at the following sites: 11801 50th St. N, and the intersection of 50th Street and Fowler Avenue in Tampa; the intersection of McIntosh Road and Tall Redwood Lane, and 3310 Joe Sanchez Road in eastern Hillsborough County.

Drivers should avoid these areas as the sinkholes are being inspected and repaired.

At the sinkhole on 50th and Fowler, water crews were at the scene Wednesday morning. The approximately 9-foot hole near the edge of the University of South Florida's campus may have caused a break in a water line.

Across the street from the hole, MOSI was without water for part of the morning, though it's unclear if it was related to the sinkhole.

Tampa Electric workers were also on the scene to make sure a power line pole on the edge of the whole is secure. About a block of 50th Street was blocked off.

On Joe Sanchez Road in Plant City, 81-year-old Rufus Powell and his wife Betty, 73, discovered the sinkhole near their driveway around 9 p.m. Tuesday. Their niece triggered an outside ssecurity light as she was leaving and the couple spotted the 8-foot-wide hole.

Neighbors stopped by throughout Wednesday morning, snapping photos of the hole, while the Powells watched it closely. They were hoping to drive to Jacksonville to visit Betty's sister Wednesday, but postponed their trip.

"I'm not going anywhere," Betty Powell said. "I don't trust that ground.

More than a week of cold weather is the suspected source of a rash of sinkholes and dry wells in eastern Hillsborough. Farmers across the area have been sprinkling plants with water overnight to cover them with a protective layer of ice, draining some water supplies.

Many farmers continued to spray water on their fields Wednesday morning as near-freezing weather was expected overnight. The rest of the week should be considerably warmer throughout the Tampa Bay area.

Hundreds of people in the Plant City area also reported to the Southwest Florida Water Management District that their personal wells had gone dry Tuesday.

Swiftmud officials suggest that people near trouble spots check their homes' foundations for cracks and listen closely for cracking noises.

Emily Nipps can be reached at nipps@sptimes.com or (727) 893-8452.

More sinkholes discovered overnight in Tampa and Hillsborough County 01/13/10 [Last modified: Wednesday, January 13, 2010 12:44pm]

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