CEDAR KEY, Fla. – Jordan Keaton, head chef and owner of 83 West in Cedar Key, remains hopeful as he works to clean and rebuild his restaurant after Hurricane Idalia.
Powerful winds from Idalia created storm surge that rose up to 6.89 feet in the island city of Cedar Key, according to the FOX Forecast Center. This broke the previous record of 6.1 feet from Hurricane Hermine in 2016.
This much storm surge flooded a number of Florida homes and businesses, such as 83 West.
Keaton said he worked for eight years to bring the restaurant where it was, to then have it damaged by the storm in one night.
"It’s truly terrifying," he said to FOX Weather correspondent Max Gorden. However, he noted how grateful he was that the building was still standing and that no one was injured or killed there.
Photos taken Thursday show images of the restaurant now that the storm surge has receded.
The deck area has wooden planks that are warped, broken or missing. Keaton said his team will need to tear off the whole deck and rebuild from scratch.
Inside the seaside restaurant, the floors are wet, and paneling can be seen peeling off some of the walls.
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Despite the damage, the sense of community in Cedar Key remains strong. According to Keaton, many people have stopped by, offered to volunteer and have brought items that might be of help, such as mops and squeegees.
"Everybody's here to get us back to the island that we've been," he said.
Cedar Key and many other communities in Florida's Big Bend were severely damaged by storm surge. Videos captured the night Idalia made landfall showed roads disappearing underneath several feet of water.