Wednesday, June 27 2012, 08:32 PM EDT
Hundreds of homes underwater, roads washed out in northern Florida
CLAY COUNTY, Fla. -- Rescues are underway in northern Florida. Hundreds of homes are underwater. Many families wanted to wait it out. But it hasn't been this bad nearly a century for Clay County. CBS 12's Peter Schaller has been in Middleburg, about 40 miles southwest of Jacksonville, and was there for the dramatic rescues.
The good news is the worst is over and the Black Creek has crested earlier Wednesday. Also all the rain has moved out of the area and everyone is getting a good first look at the damage. Cars are stuck in the water and crews have now rescued 80 residents.
A dramatic rescue in northern Florida. A family waits and watches on dry land. Jacksonville Search and Rescue crews save an elderly man who is recovering from recent heart surgery and two more people from their flooded home. His doctor probably told him to rest at home, but now that's impossible. His home, like so many underwater in Middleburg.
The latest count, 200 homes are surrounded by flood waters and 300 more homeowners are reporting at least some water damage in Clay County.
Pam Turner/Home Flooded: It's terrible..my house is at the end of this road.. and its underwater."
County leaders hoped it would never happen, but they planned for this worst case scenario. The Black Creek crested at 25 feet, that breaks a record set back in 1919.
Lorin Mock/Clay County Emergency Manager: We felt based on the estimation we were given by the NWS that this would be a significant and potentially historic event as it develops.
On the north side of the Black Creek canoes and boats are only way families can get back and forth from their homes. Roads are rivers here now, and people are using canoes and boats to get belongings out. Barb Schmidt says her home is flooded and her family is still back saving what they can.
Barbara Schmidt/Home Flooded: There's some people like my husband is still at the house.. and my next door neighbor is still at the house.. they weren't expecting it to be this bad.
But it's too late for her neighbor Pam Turner, she says anything left in her home will be ruined.
Pam Turner/Home Flooded: We couldn't move anything because it came so fast.. I've never seen it like this.. never.
The sheriff says amazingly only one man was injured in all of this. A roof collapsed on him from water damage. Now authorities are asking for patience as they work through this disaster.