Updated Oct. 19, 2019 at 8:35 p.m. – ANNA MARIA ISLAND – Post-Tropical Cyclone Nestor caused high surf, rip currents, wind gusts and flooding today on Anna Maria Island as it churned in the Gulf of Mexico, making landfall in Florida’s Panhandle.
While Polk County to the north experienced a highly-destructive tornado touchdown Friday night, while Nestor was still a tropical storm, Manatee County escaped forecast tornadoes. By Saturday afternoon, couples were strolling the windy beach, walking as far as they could before being stopped by newly-exposed rocks and seawalls. Rip currents persisted all day, moving anchored buoys to new locations, and parents held tight to their children’s hands as they ventured into rushing ankle-deep water in the Gulf.
The National Weather Service has issued a high surf advisory and coastal flood advisory in effect until Sunday, Oct. 20 at 8 a.m.
A tour of the Island late this morning and early this afternoon revealed a little flooding in Bradenton Beach and heavy flooding in areas of Holmes Beach and Anna Maria, making the trip to Bayfest a bit slower for festival-goers. The outdoor Pine Avenue event was moved indoors to The Center of Anna Maria Island due to the inclement weather.
Beach flooding likely inundated the three remaining loggerhead sea turtle nests waiting to hatch on the Island; Anna Maria Island Turtle Watch and Shorebird Monitoring volunteers will not be able to determine the damage until the weather improves. The nesting season is over, and the hatching season, which may have ended early this weekend, was due to end on Oct. 31.
Some of the most severe flooding occurred along Marina Drive in Holmes Beach and along North Shore Drive in Anna Maria.
At 11 a.m. in Holmes Beach, cars were slowing as they passed through high standing water in front of the Island Branch Library and city hall. There was also a lot of standing water behind the library at the south end of Flotilla Drive.
The intersection of Marina Drive and 58th Street, next to the Ugly Grouper, was also flooded, as were the northeast ends of 66th and 67th Streets.
In Anna Maria, North Shore Drive was heavily flooded from the western end of Bayfront Park to the intersection of Jacaranda Road, but the intersection of North Shore Drive and Alamanda Road was mostly dry and provided full access to the Rod & Reel Pier, which was busy.
Several homes along North Shore Drive had standing water in their yards and near their front doors.
Significant flooding occurred at the intersection of Alamanda Road and Gladiolus Street, on portions of Poinsettia Road and on portions of Crescent Drive. There was also some flooding in the Bayfront Park parking lot and the City Pier parking lot.
A trip through Bradenton Beach at approximately 1:30 p.m. revealed minimal standing water along Avenues B and C, although longtime resident Jim Hassett said there was more standing water earlier in the day.
Gulf Drive was mostly dry, except for the flood-prone area along the road by Cortez Beach.
The high surf near the Cortez Beach groins attracted many surfers and boogie boarders who entered the rough seas in hopes of catching a few good waves.
Some of the parking areas at the south end of Coquina Beach were dry, some were covered with shallow standing water and there was significant flooding in one area, across the street from the Manatee County Marine Rescue building.
– Cindy Lane contributed to this report.