Manatee County Hurricane Ian Update

Manatee County officials at a Friday morning press briefing.
Manatee County officials at a Friday morning press briefing.
Staff Report

BRADENTON — As of Friday morning, the county has reported that water service is being restored to the county’s barrier islands and mobile home parks in the wake of Hurricane Ian. A water-boil notice is in effect for islanders, as well as those who are in Mobile Home Parks where the water was turned off during the storm.

Customers are advised that once service is restored, all water used for drinking or cooking should be boiled as a precaution. A rolling boil of one minute is sufficient. As an alternative, bottled water may be used.

This precautionary notice will remain in effect until a bacteriological survey has shown the water to be safe, normally 24-48 hours. A Rescission Notice will be issued when the boil water notice has been lifted.

There is NOT a notice for all residents of Manatee County—only those who are in mobile home parks where the water was turned off and the island. The rest of the county has water safe to drink, according to county officials.

While the evacuation notice has been lifted for the island, Manatee County Administrator Scott Hopes said during a press briefing Friday morning that beaches remain closed until further notice. 

Manatee County residents and visitors are still being asked to "refrain from the drain” to limit wastewater system impacts.

205 of the county’s 738 lift stations (which move sewage from a lower-to-higher elevation facilities to wastewater treatment plants) were offline or without power as of 8 a.m. Friday. 

While FPL crews are prioritizing the restoration of power to these sites, Manatee County Utilities’ crews also are deploying generators to reestablish service. Because these lift stations are located across the county, customers are being asked to conserve what they put down the drain. Customers who are experiencing sewage issues are asked to call 3-1-1 so that utility crews can identify problem areas right away and facilitate fixes.

Clean-up after Hurricane Ian is in high gear in Manatee County with the rapid deployment of recovery resources. County officials have reported that First In Teams (FIT), damage assessment crews and inspections teams are hard at work. The FIT teams have cleared ALL primary roadways and streets throughout the county and will be working to clear secondary routes throughout the day.

The county says that inspections of special needs homes are a top priority to get those individuals out of the shelter and back into their homes. Initial damage assessments to residential properties have shown in excess of $4.4 million in damages. That figure is sure to climb as more inspections are conducted. However, there has been no catastrophic damage identified.  

All inspections scheduled for this week tentatively are deferred to Monday, October 3, as inspectors are performing damage assessments this week. The inspection schedule is expected to be open for new inspections on Tuesday, October 4. This schedule is subject to change based on storm recovery needs. 

The Development Services Department is working to identify permit types for storm-related repairs and will be waiving related permit fees. 

The county reported Friday morning that landfills are open and tipping fees for storm debris at the Lena Road Landfill are being waived for residential customers. The landfill will operate on extended hours from 8 a.m. through 6 p.m. Be warned that lines and wait times could be longer than usual. Garbage and recycling collections will resume Monday. Residents are cautioned to separate types of debris to ensure collection and removal by vendors. The types of debris should be separated as follows:

  • Normal Household Trash
  • Vegetative Debris – Leaves, Branches, Logs, Plants
  • Construction & Demolition Debris – Building Materials, Wood Fencing, Mattresses, Carpet, Drywall, Furniture and Lumber
  • Appliances & White Goods (must be emptied) – Air Conditioners, Washers, Dryers, Water Heaters, Refrigerators, Dishwashers, Freezers, Stoves

Over the past five days, Lake Manatee dam levels have been lowered. Crews will continue to adjust water levels, as needed, over the coming days.

Power is being restored across the county. As of 2 p.m. Thursday, roughly half of the county’s Florida Power & Light customer were still without power. At present, there is no timeline for full power restoration.

Individuals who have temporary housing needs should reach out to 3-1-1. Manatee County is partnering with the American Red Cross to identify a suitable location for the temporary housing facility. Plans will be made available as soon as they are finalized.

County employees relayed the biggest danger they are seeing is drivers NOT following the rules for non-functioning traffic signals. Please treat intersections with no working lights as a four-way stop.

The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) and the State Emergency Response Team (SERT) activated the Business Damage Assessment Survey in response to Hurricane Ian. Survey responses allow the state to expedite Hurricane Ian recovery efforts by gathering data and assessing the needs of affected businesses. It is important to share our information on damage and loss ASAP. If you need additional assistance with your business, please call 850-815-4925 between the hours of 8:a.m. to 6 p.m. or email [email protected]

Sarasota Bradenton International Airport (SRQ) resumed full services Friday morning. Travelers are encouraged to check with their airline provider for the most up-to-date travel information regarding their flights.

MCAT began operating both fixed route and paratransit services on Friday. 

"This is not an all-clear,” Administrator Hopes, emphasized Thursday. "There are still hazards out there. And you need to understand the danger.”

Hopes already implored potential "disaster tourists” to stay home so that the First In Teams, utility restoration crews, and damage assessment can continue their restoration and recovery efforts. Initial assessments show that the island communities have suffered minor to moderate damages with a greater impact being felt inland in east county communities like Myakka City.

Reports of fallen trees, scattered limbs, and snapped power wires have been widespread across the region, and while power crews are already deploying to the area, residents are being asked to be alert for debris and downed lines. 

With inundating rains on top of the already-saturated ground, the risk of flooding remains high and will remain high through the end of the week. Motorists are reminded to not drive through water of unknown depth. If you can’t see the road striping under the water, turn around. Don’t drown.   

If power is out, drivers should treat each intersection as a four-way stop and remain alert for unexpected road hazards and washouts. 

Finally, if your power is still out and you are using a generator, remember that it must be used with proper ventilation at a proper distance from the home. Do not use a generator indoors or in partially enclosed spaces, including homes, garages, and crawl spaces—even those areas with partial ventilation. Do not operate near open doors and windows. Using fans will not prevent carbon monoxide build-up in the home.

For real-time updates from Manatee County Government, please check in regularly here.

Reader Comments
J Dawson
OCT 01, 2022  •  I realize this is mostly a political publication, however there are other things going on as well. There are people attempting to return to Bradenton or other areas of Manatee county. No media outlet covers this issue. Is the water that obstructs the westbound returns subsiding? Is there an estimate on when any one of these routes will be available? Same problem with attempting to use I-75. Where to get on I-75? There is very limited access to I-75 and it would be good for people to know which exit they need, as many do not remember the exit number. For example: Can the interstate be accessed to return you to 53rd Av (SR 70)? Some useful information would be very valuable, rather than the same stories over and over. Regards J