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WUSF is part of the Florida Public Radio Emergency Network, which provides up-to-the minute weather and news reports during severe weather events on radio, online and on social media for 13 Florida Public Media stations. It’s available on WUSF 89.7 FM, online at WUSF.org and through the free Florida Storms app, which provides geotargeted live forecasts, information about evacuation routes and shelters, and live local radio streams.

These Citrus residents managed to ride out Hurricane Idalia

Man sitting on picnic table in water
Steve Newborn
/
WUSF Public Media
John Lechleidner, owner of NautiTimes Seafood 'n Wings, doesn't want to leave his restaurant, even though the Homosassa River is surging all around him

Onshore winds and storm surge continue to push water into residential areas along the Gulf of Mexico even well after Idalia rolled past. One man in Homosassa didn't want to leave his restaurant.

Water from storm surge as high as 9 feet was flowing into Homosassa on Wednesday as Idalia's long reach struck Citrus County.

Captain John Lechleidner was hoping to ride things out.

The water piled up on the roads at the corner Eli Drive and Fish Bowl Drive in Homosassa.

Lechleidner, who owns NautiTimes Seafood 'n Wings, was sitting in the middle of a picnic table.

"I woke up this morning around 6:30, looked out the window and there was no flooding whatsoever. And now as you can see, it's more than a foot of water around," Lechleiter said. "The restaurant is high and dry."

Lechleidner said he wouldn't evacuate until his cars, which are kind of high and dry right now, are underwater.

Meanwhile, Beverly Amato left her home at the Homosassa Tradewinds Condominium but came back the next day to check on her belongings.

She pointed at the water lapping at a boat canal a few yards from her home.

"It's going up at about a foot an hour," Amato said. "So all these private docks — they're on each side, we all own boat docks here — they're completely under water. Right now, we had an airboat go in the water and they had to go rescue two people that are trapped in their home, down the river at River Haven."

Amato's home was hurricane-proofed, rising 13 feet above sea level. But Amato wasn't taking any chances. She was headed to her mom's home in Leesburg, far inland.

Steve Newborn is a WUSF reporter and producer at WUSF covering environmental issues and politics in the Tampa Bay area.