Idalia aftermath: Pasco County residents clean up after major hurricane

Residents along the Gulf Coast in Hudson are cleaning up after being inundated with at least five feet of storm surge from Hurricane Idalia.

"Don't underestimate [mother nature]," said homeowner Susan Moorhouse. "You're not going to win."

Sea Ranch Drive is perpendicular to the Gulf's shoreline, and it was under five feet of water as Idalia passed by on the coast before smacking into Florida's Big Bend. 

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"There's not really words for it," said Moorhouse. "It was nice to see afterward, everybody helping everybody, but just the amount of water was a lot. It was kind of insane."

Officials with Pasco County Emergency Management had estimated for 6,000 homes to be damaged, but they say that number wound up being closer to 2,000. Several dozen residents were displaced.

Residents in Hudson began to take stock on Thursday of the damage caused by Hurricane Idalia. (Credit: Evan Axelbank) 

"A majority of our roads are open," Pasco County Emergency Management Director Andrew Fossa said. "We have a few that are still closed. I still have standing water on them, but that's a freshwater saltwater mix. So those lakes are still not receding back into their banks yet."

Fossa says 150 people were rescued from homes who were trapped by water.

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"We put out evacuation orders for a reason," he said. "Citizens become very complacent. They think they can ride the storm out. We were fortunate again, we had in it didn't hit us."

Residents like Anthony Fisher rode out the storm in homes that were set high off the ground. He spent Wednesday morning helping neighbors assess their own damage.

Residents in Hudson began to take stock on Thursday of the damage caused by Hurricane Idalia. (Credit: Evan Axelbank) 

"Don't hesitate," he said. "Listen to your authorities. If they say evacuate, evacuate because life is not one thing you cannot replace."

The Pasco County Sheriff's Office is urging people here who need to hire contractors for their cleanup to get everything in writing and make sure no one ever rushes you to sign a contract.