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Tarpon Springs businesses recover from 'most severe flooding in decades'

Storm surge from Hurricane Idalia, lifting the Anclote River, had the most significant impact on the region.

TARPON SPRINGS, Fla. — After the storm surge from Hurricane Idalia brought significant flooding to downtown Tarpon Springs, many businesses are now working to clean up and make repairs ahead of the holiday weekend.

Seaweed and debris could still be found on downtown benches along the Tarpon Springs Sponge Docks on Thursday evening, where early Wednesday morning it looked like a river. 

Olga Banis works at a downtown shop called "My Favorite Store" and saw the storm's aftermath firsthand.

"A total river and a lot of stores took on a lot of water," she said.

Banis said it took workers eight hours to clean up My Favorite Store, and even with their preparations, inventory was lost. 

"Some gift items and stuff got damaged and so yeah, you can’t sell them after that," Banis added.

Right along the sponge docks is this business "Sponge Diver Supply," where the owner said he spent all night through the storm, with water flooding into his shop. However, he said thanks to a commercial dehumidifier, they’re already back in business.

It’s the same story at "Lori’s Soaps and Sponges" across the street, where they’re grateful no boats floated up to their front door.  

"There was water all over the place. Do you see those poles right there? If those poles were not there, the boats would have been on the street," said John Korfias, who works at Lori's Soaps and Sponges. 

One of those boats was where Taso Karistinos was hunkering down during the storm. 

"I was in the boat. I went way up there and then way down there. I was watching TV all night long," Karistinos said.

Karistinos said this was the worst flooding he had seen in Tarpon Springs in decades. 

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