Homes under water in Hernando Co. as Withlacoochee River swells

Deputies wade through waters to warn residents
Posted at 6:01 AM, Sep 17, 2017

Hernando County homes are under water. The Withlacoochee river swelling bringing flood waters throughout nearby neighborhoods. The county is urging people to evacuate as the levels are expected to rise another foot.

At almost 17 feet deep, the Withlacoochee waters brought onshore has made it nearly impossible to drive along certain county streets, by regular car. Deputies dusted off the airboats and jet skis determined to reach homeowners possibly stranded by these high waters. They're knocking on doors. Checking to make sure no one is left behind. Since Friday, both Pasco and Hernando counties asked residents around the river to evacuate.

In the waters we found Willie Payne. In Kayak, he was headed to get groceries. The man has lived on his Reynolds Road neighborhood for 30-years but says he hasn't seen water levels this high since Hurricane Katrina. However, he insists he's not leaving. Looting is a major concern on his mind.

"Not on my property. I will shot your *bleep.* And you can put that on the *bleep* news," he exclaimed.

Meanwhile his neighbor, Jonathan Crivello, isn't scared of that. But with three dogs, a fiance and most of all a disabled aunt that's hesitant to leave-- He feels stuck.

"I feel like I've given up, I've tried so many times with life but life gives up on you but you just let it go," he said.
Giving up isn't something Deputy Roy McLaughlin is willing to do. He talks to Jonathan's aunt attempting to coax her into leaving.

"It's not safe, there's alligators, moccasins out here," said McLaughlin.

He shares his own family's story of losing everything in a house fire.

"You can replace everything here but you can't replace life," he tells 65-year-old Jane LePore.
LePore says she's seen miracles in life and right now is leaning on her faith. She won't go.

"Sweetie you go take care," she tells McLaughlin, "You do the right thing. God will take care of me."
She assures him she's already being looked after.

"Don't worry, he'll fly me out of here if he has to," she said and then points up to the sky, "If not, I'll go home. I'm going home!"
He can't force her and so deputy McLaughlin goes on to the next home. Promising he'll return.