Vol 6 No. 38 - June 14, 2006

Glancing blow
Minimal damage reported as Tropical Storm Alberto brushes Anna Maria Island


SUN PHOTO/MAGGIE FIELD
Tropical Storm Alberto kicked up some nice waves on Island beaches

By Cindy Lane
sun staff writer

Minor flooding and beach erosion were the legacy of Tropical Storm Alberto this week on Anna Maria Island and Longboat Key.

The storm was mostly a rain event, dropping 4.23 inches on Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport from Sunday through Tuesday morning, according to the National Weather Service in Ruskin. Local weather watchers recorded exactly four inches on Anna Maria Island.

Winds gusted up to 44 miles per hour at the airport during the storm, and up to 60 miles per hour in Tampa Bay, with surf at four to six feet on Tuesday and three to five feet on Sunday and Monday. Tides were up one to two feet.

As a tropical storm warning persisted Tuesday, swimmers braved the rough surf and swift northerly riptide in the Gulf of Mexico. On Monday, sightseers walked the beach in rain gear, intermittently pelted by downpours from the storm bands and stinging, wind-blown sand.

Rain kept some beachgoers away from the public beaches on Monday, but lifeguards expected more sightseers on Tuesday as the storm pushed farther north, Capt. Joe Westerman said.

Others took the storm seriously, filling sand bags and bringing in lawn furniture on Monday as public works employees in all three Island cities checked storm drains and picked up trash cans from beach accesses.

The storm caused little damage other than minor power outages from downed lines, West Manatee Fire Rescue Chief Andy Price said, adding that a few fire alarms went off due to water infiltration.

Holmes Beach police telephones weren’t ringing on Monday due to a problem with the telephone lines. Police responded to a minor car accident during Sunday’s rain and reported a downed power line in front of the elementary school on Sunday night.

Bradenton Beach police kept a close eye on the slick roads, reporting nothing unusual other than the sinking of two boats anchored just south of the Bridge Street Pier.

Anna Maria Public Works Chief George McKay said the storm did little in Anna Maria other than disrupt lives and make the streets "bird friendly" with puddles that will dry up in a day or two.

The Manatee County Sheriff’s Office, which covers the city of Anna Maria and part of Longboat Key, reported no incidents other than the closing of St. Armands Circle on Monday due to flooding. Longboat Key fire rescue and police reported minor flooding in the usual areas.



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