Flood victims left with disaster after Withlacoochee River recedes out of flood stage

Posted at 5:43 PM, Oct 16, 2017
and last updated 2017-10-16 17:43:36-04

The water along the Withlacoochee River in Ridge Manor has finally receded. Leaving hundreds to clean up the mess.

Jim Hatem thought his home of 30 years was in the clear after Hurricane Irma hit.

He said, "When we got here I went thank God, look, no damage." 

He was not prepared for what happened next. Hatem said, "I came out the next morning, the water was at the garage. That’s how fast it was coming in."  

And it kept coming flooding the inside of his home. Now he says he’s leaving the area and heading to higher ground. "When you’re 74-years-old and starting all over again, that’s pretty bad."

Timmy Sheffield has been staying in a hotel for more than a month because of the flood.

He said, "We thought it was going to stop but it just kept coming." 

Sheffield got at least a foot of water inside of his home. He said, "We brought an airboat in, two weeks ago, maybe three weeks ago and there was fish swimming on the porch." 

There’s no final count, but it’s possible that hundreds of homes near the Withlacoochee River took on water causing people to lose nearly everything, except for their will to keep going.

Hatem said, "Just have to carry on with life, that’s all we can do."