Some lakes that have left homeowners high and dry for nearly a decade are suddenly nearing flood stage. It’s a dramatic turnabout in Lake County, in just a matter of months. Now people who live in the Clermont area are wondering what happened.

At Clermont’s Waterfront Park, shortly after the city opened a swimming area at Lake Minneola in early 2012, receding water and below-average rainfall since 2005 had people wading next to deep water warning buoys. Things only got worse – that is, until last summer.

Now the situation is almost completely the opposite. Signs at the beginning of the beach are now underwater. Water at the same park has swallowed the beach and is now rising near swingsets. Boat docks, which had been over sand, are now accessible from the water for the first time in years.

However, the sudden change in lake levels has left a lot of people in the area wondering the same thing.

“Do they block it somewhere where they hold the water in. Is there some way they do that?” Dennis Larkin asked looking at the lake.

“There are no locks, no structures, no dams anywhere south of Lake Louisa, or anywhere south of Lake Minneola for that matter," said Lake County Water Authority Executive Director Michael Perry. "There is nothing artificially holding water back.”

Perry charts the lake levels and said Lake Minneola and Lake Minnehaha have risen four feet since July. He said the rise mostly corresponded with rainfall totals. The lakes continued to rise in December as water continued flowing.

“Fortunately this year we got better than average rainfall and a lot of fell in the Green Swamp and to the areas that drain into the lakes as well,” Perry said.

A group that formed in part to study if any rerouting of water or aquifer withdrawals were affecting lake levels, said they’ll continue collecting data even though the water has returned.

“Are there surficial diversions? People ask a lot of questions about it. How much of an effect it has on the lake levels is probably small, but it’s something the South Lake Regional Water Initiative will certainly be looking at this year,” Lake County Commissoner Sean Parks said.

The Water Authority said if the lakes rise another three inches, they will likely have to open floodgates to the north of Lake Minneola. But the dry season ahead could help things.