Despite rising floodwaters following Hurricane Irma, Elfers residents elect to stay

Pasco County issued a voluntary evacuation order on Monday afternoon

PASCO COUNTY, Fla (WFLA) — While the waters continue to rise along the Anclote River in Pasco County, a number of nearby residents are electing to stay.

On Monday, Pasco County officials issued a flood warning for three rivers in the county, and Anclote was one of them. Late Monday, the county followed up with a voluntary evacuation order for the area. The river is expected to rise more than seven feet above flood stage by Tuesday night.

Wendy Milligan is electing to leave her mobile home, but she’s not leaving the neighborhood.

“I plan on going to his aunt’s house and she lives like two houses down and hanging with her,” said Milligan. “She’s disabled so, we watch each other.”

For some, flooding is simply a part of life on the river. The floodwaters come, and they go. The trade off: living in a pristine location with Gulf of Mexico access that is affordable.

We caught a young man wakeboarding behind a Jeep on Elfers Parkway shortly after the river consumed the roadway.

But some residents, like Crystal Kraft, say if this is life on the river, it’s not for them. She went through flooding last year and now she is going through it again.

“Yeah, I did it last year because of these storms. It just gets tiresome,” said Kraft. “Having to pack up and go somewhere and wait to come home to see if your stuff is still there or it’s gone.”

She brought a cooler full of freezer items to a neighbor after her power went out, knowing the floodwaters would be rising quickly.

But Chuck Papworth has a different outlook. He’s lived on the river for 40 years and built his house on stilts. Even if the floodwaters get high, his home will be high and dry. Items underneath the house, Papworth usually puts on a table to try and spare them. He’s used to the flooding, but what makes this particular one a bit more difficult is it’s following Hurricane Irma.

“Been nervous for a week. Because Cat 5? I’m a native and very few Category 5’s have wandered around,” said Papworth. “And now this on top of it. I can handle one or the other, but both of them it’s getting a little tiresome. ”

In addition to the Anclote River, the county also issued flood warnings for the Withlacoochee River at Trilby and Cypress Creek at Worthington Gardens.

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