Sarasota, Manatee Look Toward Hurricane Ian Recovery

Todays News

Image courtesy Manatee County Government.

After Hurricane Ian made landfall in Lee County, Sarasota and Manatee counties dealt with the rain and wind of the Category 4 storm as it moved through the region.

Manatee County saw more than 100,000 residents evacuated from flood zones into shelters or out of the state. County commissioners there declared a state of emergency this weekend. Sarasota County also evacuated residents from flood zones A and B as the storm track forecasts showed the storm system impacting the region. 

While the Sarasota-Manatee area avoided a direct hit from the storm, severe winds forced law enforcement and first responders to suspend service for several hours on Wednesday. Residents were ordered off the roads, and shelters early in the day were locked down in Manatee at capacity as individuals still in the region were to shelter in place in their own homes. Meanwhile, Manatee County officials immediately ran into power issues as 15% of lift stations lost power, leading the county to discourage people from excessive flushing of toilets.

“Our lift stations work off the same power grid as everyone else. As power goes out, so do the lift station,” said Manatee County Commissioner George Kruse in a tweet. “Help preserve our infrastructure. We’ll get them up and running as soon as it’s save. In the interim, you shouldn’t be going anyplace that requires a shower anyway!”

As of 8 p.m., the eye of the storm moves into the Port Charlotte area but continued on a north-northeast path toward Orlando and alongside Sarasota and Bradenton. By that point, more than 164,000 customers were without power in Manatee County and nearly 255,000 were in the dark in Sarasota County. 

Gov. Ron DeSantis on Monday came through Sarasota and met with local officials about storm response. “State and county officials are working to ensure we are prepared for the significant anticipated impacts of Hurricane Ian,” he said.

The aftermath of the storm will become clear with daylight this morning. Government officials have stressed individuals should remain off the roads as first responders work to secure the area.

School districts in both counties canceled school for the remainder of the week, as did all of the colleges in the region. Many public schools are serving right now as shelters for evacuated residents.

Image courtesy Manatee County Government.

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