Sinkhole opens up in a Publix parking lot near Legoland in Winter Haven

WINTER HAVEN, Fla. - Three businesses between a Publix supermarket and Kmart were evacuated as a precaution early Thursday afternoon after a sinkhole opened up and continued to grow in a parking lot across from Legoland.

The hole first appeared around 8 a.m. in the lot at 6031 Cypress Gardens Boulevard.

Earlier Thursday morning, the hole measured approximately 30 feet wide by five feet deep. By 2 p.m., it had grown to 70 feet in diameter and 15 feet deep.

Photos from the scene show sections of the parking lot buckling outward away from the hole.

The lot is private property and the owners contacted geologists who used ground-penetrating radar to determine the nature and severity of the depression, which was later determined to be a sinkhole.

They said the rest of the parking lot is safe.

So far, no structural damage is reported.

At last word from Publix, the store was open for business.

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