County assesses Isaac damage
Water levels at area beaches ran 1 to 3 feet above normal and flooding from the Myakka River concerned Sarasota County Emergency Management officials Tuesday as they began to assess damage from the area’s brush with Tropical Storm Isaac.
Locally, the city of Venice reported minor impacts.
“This city is well-protected,” said City Manager Ed Lavallee. “It turned out not as demanding as it could have been. As far as preparedness, you are in good hands.”
Lavallee said he’ll provide a formal summary of the city’s responses next week. The only weakness he found was the Code Red telephone system needs updating.
“I felt if anything was going to happen, we definitely had control,” said Council Member Bob Daniels of the city’s response. “I didn’t see any flaws.”
Area beaches hit hard with erosion from Tropical Storm Debby in June have been suffering again due to storm surge and wave action. Water has breached seawalls on Manasota Key and flooded roads. Officials placed lighted barricades on the roadways to warn drivers.
A high-surf advisory will remain in effect until Wednesday night, with waves ranging anywhere from 4 to 7 feet in height. The National Weather Service warned that high surf causes rip currents, making swimming and surfing hazardous. Minor beach erosion is expected to continue, especially during high tide. Coastal Resources will be able to check on the severity of beach erosion after the tides and surf return to normal, likely by late Wednesday, officials said.
The county reported Tuesday that its four movable bridges have been reopened to marine traffic — the Manasota Key Drawbridge in Englewood, the Venice Avenue Drawbridge in Venice, the Blackburn Point Swing Bridge on Casey Key, and the Albee Road Drawbridge in Nokomis. Officials warned that boaters wishing to swim should exercise caution and heed all small-craft advisories, if issued, in the rough Gulf, bay and inland waters.
Waters from the Myakka River caused flooding in the Playmore subdivision near North Port, damaging at least one house, and at Ramblers Rest RV Resort off River Road in Venice. Rain pushed the river over its 7-foot flood stage and storm surge from Isaac — now a hurricane that on Tuesday evening was bearing down on New Orleans — forced water to be trapped in the river and not flow in and out with the tide.
Flood warnings for the Myakka River remain in effect until further notice. According to the National Weather Service, the river was expected to rise to
7.7 feet Tuesday evening.
Sarasota County’s Emergency Operations Center moved from Level 1 full activation to Level 2 partial activation Monday evening after people with special needs who wished to evacuate were returned to their homes. The EOC dropped back to its normal Level 3 monitoring status Tuesday.
In a statement provided by the county, Emergency Management Chief Ed McCrane, who said on Monday the county “got lucky and was fortunate not to have any major impacts” from Isaac, thanked the scores of citizens, volunteers and staff members who assisted in the response to the storm.
“We are reviewing ‘lessons learned’ from this storm to continue to improve procedures,” McCrane says in the statement. “All residents and visitors should remain prepared and have emergency plans in place for future storms. We have been affected by two tropical storms already this summer, and hurricane season has not yet reached its peak.”
McCrane, citing schedule issues, declined further comment when reached Tuesday.