MIDDLEBURG, Fla. -- The waters of Black Creek continued to rise Tuesday night and are expected to reach historic levels by Wednesday afternoon.
Pounding rains late Tuesday made an already severe flooding problem much worse for about 200 homes along Black Creek, trapping many homeowners and forcing others to quickly evacuate to a Red Cross shelter set up at Middleburg High School.
Clay County Fire and Rescue teams continued their rescue efforts through midnight, but had to suspend efforts due to little light and swift currents by early Wednesday morning.
The Main Street Boat Ramp was closed to all boat traffic after rising waters flooded a pavilion, swept away picnic tables, and completely covered a popular fishing pier.
Hundreds of people flocked there to see the devestation first hand.
"I've never, in 20 years, seen anything like this," said Donna Padgett.
"This is a mess," added Max Falkner, who had trouble moving his pickup truck after waters trapped it near the shoreline. "I've seen it flood, but Debby has really done some work."
Fire Chief Lorin Mock tells Action News his team is still in response mode, but he expects the recovery effort to be underway by late Wednesday, just as waters are expected to crest at more than 25 feet, breaking previous records.
"The concern now is getting to those who need help right now. Then we'll start with clean up. These waters are not safe. There are septic tanks and appliances floating in the water and we're not sure what else. No one needs to be in them."
The water is closed to all motorized boats due to swift currents and still rising waters. Only paddle boats are allowed at this time and are highly advised against by officials.