The night before the No-Name Storm hit Citrus County was stormy, but not unlike any other storm we have in Florida. I don’t know that anyone was aware of what was really headed our way and if they did I certainly didn’t know. I went to sleep in my condo on SE Paradise Ave in Crystal River and never imagined what the next morning would bring.
I woke up on Saturday morning to hear kids shouting in the backyard behind my condo. Our floating dock was floating up and off the railings while at the same time manatees were feeding on the grass in my yard. What a way to start a Saturday morning!
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Within no time the water from the canal had risen quickly and was now approaching my sliding glass doors. Water was coming in my house and there wasn’t much I could do. A quick look out my front door and I could see the roads from my home leading to Highway 19 were already underwater and my tiny car was already flooded.
I somehow managed to get my couch up on cement blocks that were given to me by my neighbors with the hopes it would stay dry. Sadly, the couch didn’t make it. Water reached about three feet in my condo by midafternoon.
I was eventually rescued by a helpful man in a little Jon boat. A neighbor asked if I wanted to be rescued. By the looks of my house it seemed like a good idea. He dropped me off on Highway 19 where the rising water had not yet reached. Before I could turn to thank him he had scooted off to help rescue others.
At that moment I had absolutely nothing, I was soaking wet and cold, my car was underwater, my condo was flooded, I had no money in my pocket and no cell phone, of course because it was 1993. Not knowing what to do or where to go I walked to nearby Grannies Restaurant. Some caring waitresses wrapped me in as many blankets as they could find and fed me breakfast, for free since I had no money on me.
I was eventually able to find a working phone and was able to reach my mother to take me to her home.
I was not able to return to my condo for several weeks while the carpet and dry wall were replaced and my car was totaled due to the flooding. I remember there were hundreds of cars towed to the field near Crystal Chevrolet on Highway 19 while they waited for insurance adjusters to finalize the damage details.
I lost a few pieces of furniture, but otherwise weathered that storm much better than so many others in Crystal River and Homosassa. That day, I was blessed by so many strangers who helped me. In 1993 Citrus County was a community that was filled with loving, caring neighbors and we are fortunate to still have that sense of community today.
Trina Murphy is the publisher of the Citrus County Chronicle.