PASCO COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) — Areas west of U.S. 19 in Pasco County, known as Zone A, are under a mandatory evacuation order due to storm surge concerns during Hurricane Idalia.
“We raised all the boats,” said Joey Gottfried, who lives in the Gulf Harbors, a waterfront development in New Port Richey.
He lives along a canal and has seen it exceed its banks during storms before.
He said it has never reached his home.
“We know that a bad hurricane coming by will probably do it,” said Gottfried, about the track shift to the west. “So as of the forecast that we had [Monday], we were expecting water intrusion in the house. We actually have a bunch of stuff raised in the house already. Hopefully, it doesn’t look like it’s gonna be that way, hope.”
Gottfried’s wife evacuated Monday.
He has removed his boat from the dock, boarded up his windows, and moved items to higher locations indoors but is staying in his home through Idalia.
He said his home sits higher than other areas in Zone A.
“It’s going to be over the seawall. It’s just a matter of how far up in the yard and will it get into people’s houses? Hopefully, if it’s only 4-5 feet of surges, it won’t make it into the houses here but it will probably in Green Key, certainly,” said Gottfried.
“Once it gets dark, our response team is not gonna be able to help you because we’re not gonna be able to see,” said New Port Richey Mayor Chopper Davis.
Davis urged everyone who lives in an area with a mandatory evacuation order to leave before it is too late.
“We really need them to evacuate, that’s probably the most important part. It’s all going to happen pretty much in the evening. We’re going to get that 6-9 foot surge. So that’s real important that people make plans and get out of town early,” Davis said.
For more information on Pasco County’s evacuation zones, visit https://www.pascocountyfl.net/322/Evacuation-Zones.