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Hurricane Idalia rips roofs off homes, causes extensive damage to parts of Keaton Beach

Storm made landfall as a Category 3 hurricane Wednesday morning
Posted at 6:36 PM, Aug 31, 2023
and last updated 2023-08-31 21:20:28-04

KEATON BEACH, Fla. — In Keaton Beach, residents have now begun to check on their homes in the wake of Hurricane Idalia.

The powerful storm made landfall Wednesday morning as a Category 3 hurricane in Taylor County. For many who live there, coming back after the storm was terrifying.

They told WPTV they didn't know what they'd find in place of their homes — if anything.

Charles Renaud traveled with a group of buddies from Georgia to help his friend, Drew, recover after the storm.

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"We've got mud, we've got seaweed, but nothing that we can't clean up," Renaud said.

His friend fared OK, but the damage throughout the rest of the town was much more extensive.

"You got whole masses of trees down, and power, the whole shooting match," Renaud said.

Piles of debris littered both sides of the street throughout the town Thursday, and many trees were leveled. Wind tore roofs off homes, and power lines dangled in the streets.

One home's roof was torn off and thrown into another house across the street, and metal roofing wrapped around a light pole.

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One couple's home was speared by a falling tree, while the wind tore Tom Davis' roof off.

"There's some water damage on the inside of the house from the leaks on it, siding is blown off in places, so we'll probably have to replace some of that too," Davis said.

Still, Davis said he's thankful he still has a home that's standing.

"We were expecting this thing to be leveled," Davis said.

Tom Davis was among those who suffered significant property damage from Hurricane Idalia.
Tom Davis was among those who suffered significant property damage from Hurricane Idalia.

On the other side of town, Michael Patterson couldn't say the same thing.

He walked WPTV around the property he bought just a month earlier, showing us his fence now ripped off its posts.

"Or what used to be our fence," Patterson said. "But, there's nothing you can do."

Aside from his fence, Patterson's dock was wrenched to pieces and his shed is now gone.

"Where do you think it is?" asked WPTV reporter Kate Hussey asked him.

"That's a good question, but we got a door for it," Patterson said while holding up the only thing left from it.

Worst of all, his home, an RV, and the boat that went with it are now upside-down in the town of Perry.

Michael Patterson shows off the door of a shed that was blown away by Hurricane Idalia.
Michael Patterson shows off the door of a shed that was blown away by Hurricane Idalia.

"Before the hurricane, we towed it out to what we thought was safer ground," Patterson said.

WPTV spotted several docks that were reduced to lumber, and some boat houses were flattened.

Kathy Meissner's dock now sits in her neighbor's yard.

"And we will remove that, Linda and Anthony, we promise!" joked Meissner, speaking of her neighbors.

Amid the fractured pavement and piles of lumber and the Coast Guard rescue crews that flew overhead, Patterson said he's thankful he and his wife, Vicki, didn't lose each other. He said that makes each step towards normalcy a little less steep.

"We can rebuild. We're both here," Patterson said. "We're both healthy. We're both alive."

Some residents said they were told not to expect power back on for about six weeks. However, they were thankful that no injuries had been reported in their area.

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