Hurricane Idalia’s surge leaves parts of Manatee County and Anna Maria Island flooded (2024)

Bradenton, Anna Maria Island and Manatee County escaped the worst of Hurricane Idalia, which grazed Southwest Florida as a Category 2 hurricane.

On Wednesday, there was no loss of life or catastrophic damage reported, though storm surge left some roads, homes and businesses severely flooded.

Evacuation orders were lifted around midday as the surge began to recede. Residents were allowed to return to homes in low-lying and coastal areas, and the bridges to Anna Maria Island reopened.

However, island leaders asked that non-residents stay away from the beaches until residents had a chance to return and assess damage. Anna Maria said it would strictly limit entry to residents and business owners.

Power outages in Manatee County were minimal, impacting about 18,000 homes.

Damage assessments by county officials were underway and had topped $2 million.

While flooding was bad in some areas, officials said it could have been worse.

“We’re seeing flooding all along the (Manatee River,) Riverview Boulevard, Riverside, the Riverwalk,” said Bradenton City Administrator Rob Perry. “Quite honestly, it’s fairly minimal compared to what it could’ve been.”

Anna Maria Island, Bradenton see flooding

The cities of Anna Maria, Holmes Beach and Bradenton Beach were underwater Wednesday morning.

“We have extreme flooding on all our roadways,” Police Chief Bill Tokajer of Holmes Beach said. “The roads aren’t passable and no bridges open to Anna Maria Island.”

It won’t be possible to assess damage until the flooding recedes, Tokajer said.

In the city of Bradenton, Mayor Gene Brown and city administrator Rob Perry were evaluating flooding along the city’s riverfront.

At 9:49 a.m., street flooding had reached three or four houses deep from the Manatee River.

“We are trying to blast out to everyone stay out of the water. We dodged the windstorm, but not the flooding,” Brown said.

In Palmetto, Mayor Shirley Groover Bryant said there was flooding along Riverside Drive, but roads are passable and city crews were picking up debris Wednesday morning.

“It looks like we fared as well as could be expected. It seems like we have been blessed,” she said.

But floodwater remained a dangerous hazard. In Palmetto, a police officer blocked vehicles from entering 11th Street Court West, where downed power lines caused an electrical hazard. The occasional pop or hiss from arcs of electricity could be heard from the waves lapping across the road.

Bill Logan, Manatee County’s information manager, said county crews were assessing damage on Wednesday, with an eye toward reopening country buildings on Thursday.

Rubonia was also flooded, illustrated by pictures shared by the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office.

Anna Maria Island makes plans to reopen

Manatee County lifted its evacuation order for Anna Maria Island at 2 p.m. Wednesday.

The mayors of the three Anna Maria Island cities met in an online conference to discuss reopening.

Here’s what they decided:

  • Holmes Beach would reopen at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday to everyone, but is asking those who don’t live on the island to wait for flood waters to recede and not create wakes that go into residents’ homes, Mayor Judy tit*worth said. “We are asking people if you don’t live out here, give the property owners a day or two,” tit*worth said.

  • Bradenton Beach was planning to reopen at 4:30 p.m. as well, tit*worth said.

  • The city of Anna Maria planned to reopen at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday to residents and business owners only, Mayor Dan Murphy said.

Anna Maria officials are asking others to stay away, due to the magnitude of the flooding.

Anna Maria will have a barricade to check IDs of drivers, he said.

“Some of the streets are unbelievably flooded. It’s just not safe,” Murphy said.

The most flooded areas are in residential pockets in the city center, but there was also flooding along Bayfront Park and North Bay Drive, nearly to Bean Point, he said.

“I have lived in Florida all my life and this is the worst I have seen. I don’t have much debris. What I have is a lot of water and it’s not going anywhere. It breaks my heart to look at this,” Murphy said.

Evacuation orders expired as of 2 p.m. and residents who could safely access their homes were allowed to do so. All shelters closed with a few remaining evacuees awaiting transport, Manatee County government said in a press release.

Please check the city’s website, for details and updates, the county press release said.

Residents react to storm damage

By Wednesday morning, Bradenton-area residents had taken to the streets to assess flood damage in their neighborhoods and local parks.

Supervised by their parents, children Willow and Teddy Baxter frolicked in river water that rose onto the sidewalk at the Bradenton Riverwalk.

The floodwaters submerged part of the Rossi Park splash pad and some playground equipment.

Their father, Ted Baxter, said the family decided to ride out the storm in their house along the riverfront. While his house was safe from flooding, neighbors appeared to have floodwater in their homes.

At Portosueno Park, several residents inspected the flooding near the boat ramp. Wednesday morning, the water breached the seawall and submerged roadways in the neighborhood.

The water rose so high that manatees, a common site at the park along Palma Sola Boulevard, swam over the seawall and began feeding on the grass, said Janet Rezze, a Palma Sola Park resident.

“I watched manatees eat our grass in the backyard,” Rezze said. “That was new.”

Joanne Wilhelm sheltered with Rezze after evacuating her Longboat Key home. As of Wednesday morning, she had not had a chance to inspect her property.

“We’ve seen pictures and there’s flooding up to the back door,” said Wilhelm. “We just have to keep our fingers crossed that it doesn’t get inside the house.”

“We’ll have plenty of stories to tell,” Wilhelm said.

Along Riverside Drive East, near Manatee Memorial Hospital, two residents stayed awake until nearly 3 a.m., bracing for the worst of Hurricane Idalia’s storm surge.

By the time the sun came up, waves from the Manatee River slammed into their home. Cristie Caseman and Brian Zoller prayed the water would not continue to rise as inches entered their garage and kitchen pantry.

“We were lucky. This is the worst we’ve seen it,” said Caseman. “The stuff in the pantry is replaceable. The house is not.”

Bradenton water treatment plant offline

For about six hours Wednesday, the city of Bradenton urged its residents to reduce their water usage after its water treatment plant went offline in the wake of the storm.

Officials asked municipal water customers to conserve water until the tides subside and water levels return to normal. The city requested that those who use city water refrain from washing dishes and doing laundry and take showers sparingly.

In an interview with the Bradenton Herald, Jeannie Roberts, the city’s public information officer, confirmed that Bradenton’s drinking water supply is safe. Residents may continue to drink and cook with the water without concern, she said.

By 5 p.m. Wednesday, the system had returned to normal.

Minimal impacts to Manatee growers, SRQ airport

Manatee County agriculture, a leader in Florida’s vegetable and melon production, appeared to have largely been spared from heavy damage by Idalia.

“I’m still making phone calls but at this point mostly some flooding in the fields and wind damage but very minor,” Lisa Hickey, interim county extension agent, said in an email. “The big tomato growers in Duette are saying they had about 40 mph winds and minimal flooding that will subside with no issues.”

Sarasota Bradenton International Airport, which closed at 7 p.m. Tuesday, reopened at 8 a.m. Wednesday.

“We didn’t have a lick of damage,” Rick Piccolo, the airport’s president and CEO, said.

All of the scheduled Wednesday morning arrivals at SRQ were canceled by the airlines on Tuesday out of an abundance of caution, Piccolo said.

Manatee County services to resume Thursday

Although it will be awhile before homeowners affected by flooding, and 3,660 FPL customers and 311 Peace River Electric Cooperative residents without power to get back to normal, county government was planning to reopen.

“The county will be open for business Thursday,” Acting County Administrator Charlie Bishop said in a press release. “Though there may be a few facilities that won’t open due to ongoing assessment, we are doing all we can to get the bulk of our programs and facilities back to normal operations.”

Manatee County Area Transit (MCAT) will resume operation Thursday and county waste pick up will also resume, with normal Tuesday pick-ups on Thursday, Thursday pick-ups on Friday, and Friday pick-ups on Saturday.

There will be no recycling or yard waste this week. Manatee County 3-1-1 will close at 5 p.m. and will resume normal operating hours Thursday.

All county parks will be open Thursday. However, flooding may limit use of certain amenities. All county buildings will be open Thursday, except the following:

  • Island Branch Library (closed to parking lot flooding)

  • Coquina Beach Parking (portions may be inaccessible due to post-storm clean-up)

  • Tower Two Lifeguard Stand (report of electrical issues)

“We would like to thank the public for their cooperation in staying put while we begin our recovery efforts,” County Commission Chair Kevin Van Ostenbridge said in a press release.

Hurricane Idalia’s surge leaves parts of Manatee County and Anna Maria Island flooded (1)

Hurricane Idalia’s surge leaves parts of Manatee County and Anna Maria Island flooded (2)

Hurricane Idalia’s surge leaves parts of Manatee County and Anna Maria Island flooded (3)

Hurricane Idalia’s surge leaves parts of Manatee County and Anna Maria Island flooded (2024)


How did the Idalia affect Manatee County? ›

In Manatee County, coastal areas also measured peak high water levels between 2 and 4 feet. The storm surge flooding contributed to a peak water level of 3.69 feet above Mean High High Water (MHHW) of 3.69 feet. Manatee County had 25 structures with major damage and 2 structures with minor damage.

How did the Idalia affect Anna Maria Island? ›

Returning to the coast, residents and business owners found resculpted shorelines, debris littered yards, flooded roads and parking lots and some water intrusion in structures. Manatee County's preliminary countywide damage estimate exceeded $2 million but there were no injuries reported.

Did Anna Maria Island flood from Idalia? ›

ANNA MARIA ISLAND – Much of Anna Maria Island experienced storm surge and king tide-related flooding, but the barrier island survived Hurricane Idalia mostly unscathed.

What was the storm surge of Hurricane Idalia? ›

Hurricane Idalia brought a dangerous storm surge to the Florida Big Bend region, with the maximum inundation of 8 to 12 ft above ground level (AGL) occurring from Keaton Beach to Steinhatchee, Florida (Fig. 9).

How did hurricane Maria affect the community? ›

Electricity was cut off to 100 percent of the island, and access to clean water and food became limited for most. The powerful Category 4 storm devastated the island and plunged all of its 3.4 million residents into a desperate humanitarian crisis.

What are the 3 main environmental threats to the manatee? ›

Here are three threats that manatees encounter today:
  • Boat Strikes. Manatees live in coastal waters, estuaries and rivers—which happens to be where there is a lot of boat traffic. ...
  • Harmful Algal Blooms. Harmful algal blooms are a growing threat to manatees and other ocean wildlife. ...
  • Entanglement in Marine Debris.
Nov 5, 2019

How is Anna Maria Island today? ›

Sunny to partly cloudy. High 78F. SE winds shifting to WSW at 10 to 15 mph.

Is Anna Maria Island still there? ›

Anna Maria Island today is divided into the three cities of Anna Maria in the north, Holmes Beach in the middle, and Bradenton Beach in the south.

Why is Anna Maria Island so popular? ›

"The northernmost of three cozy beach towns on a seven-mile-long island, Anna Maria is packed with so much old-Florida charm—from its sun-faded architecture and ice cream shops to beachside seafood shacks—it's essentially a 1950s time warp," writes Liz Newman, who is listed as the site's former Miami editor.

Was Bradenton FL affected by Idalia? ›

When the choppy surf and storms died down and floodwaters receded from Hurricane Idalia, Bradenton Beach officials began assessing damages, including at the Historic Bridge Street Pier, which was battered by boats.

Did Bradenton Florida get hit by Hurricane Idalia? ›

The Bradenton area was spared the worst of Hurricane Idalia, which made landfall in Florida Wednesday morning, but Manatee County saw heavy flooding near local rivers, beaches, and bays, Mayor Gene Brown said.

What is causing manatee deaths in Florida? ›

Death by impact kills slightly more than 50 percent of manatees killed by collisions with watercraft. Over the last ten years there has been an increase in the number of deaths caused by impact compared to propellers.

What is the single largest cause of manatee deaths in Florida? ›

Collisions with boats and barges is the largest human-related factor causing manatee deaths in Florida.


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