And so the annual dance begins, a bit early. This first dance partner is named Debby in the National Hurricane Center’s lexicon of storm names. Ernesto is next.
It’s Wednesday morning on our idyllic key with the sun shining brightly. All seems right with the world. The past three-plus days have seen heavy rains, close to hurricane force winds, wild surf and only intermittent power outages.
That we’re all still here is a testament to the power of good design, better construction and diligent workers. Yes, we can live on a barrier island, but it takes a lot of work. The work was, and is always done, by the guys on the ends of the shovels and manning the big machines. They were out there that Monday morning in the driving rain making things safe for the rest of us. They all deserve a tip of the cap when you see them. They ask so little and deserve so much.
The impacts of this ‘small’ storm were minimum here, greater in other parts of the Sunshine State. Lives were lost in Florida in addition to property. An early storm may be the annual wakeup call. The key to success in this business is preparedness at all levels. Do you know where your hurricane plan is?
Impacts, at least around here were minimum, as I’ve said, except to what we call in the trade “Public Works” — infrastructure, things we all take for granted. We survived, again. I’d add that in my experience in this business the maximum impacts and greatest costs always occur in the least developed areas — the streets with no storm drains, the unpaved lanes, the homes with untended roofs. Here these might be in our Village, on the side streets in our Manatee County portion.
I saw a series of photos placed on facebook by a Village resident on Monday (I almost never look at facebook) showing flooding there. What I saw was an area requiring major street rebuilding. I was in downtown Sarasota that same Monday. I noted up close and personal the classic failure in a sanitary sewage system. ‘Popped’ manholes were floating atop streams of sewage in the streets. This material then flowed into the storm drains and ultimately into the bay. The county then called for curtailing use of household water use (no flushing). LBK is luckier. That didn’t happen here, yet. Fortunately our staff is moving, albeit slowly, on replacement of the force main carrying our wastewater to Manatee County for treatment. This main is indeed LBK’s lifeline! No flushing here means the end of success here.
Keep at it, gals and guys.
On the sunny Friday after the storm I took a ride about town. Most everything looked fine. Fallen and broken limbs all appear to have been cut up and placed for pickup. The giant construction site for Publix/CVS looks fine. Work is underway. I notice that many palms have been planted — the screen for the high CVS structure I suppose.
The golf courses appear to be drying out; the water hazards had been almost overflowing; they are back in their banks. The flooded Village streets all were dry again. I looked at the beach in several places. While there appears to be the usual storm related beach erosion, it looks manageable. I looked at low tide, purposely, and beach width losses are obvious. In most places (I only looked at a few) while beach width was lost, beach profile or elevation appears to have suffered too. This will require a serious survey.
What has happened to our beach management plan anyway?
With an eye on recent court action on healthcare I add. On the final day of Debby’s rains and winds around here, I had a scheduled very minor procedure at Doctors Hospital in Sarasota. This had been arranged by one of the fine orthopedic surgeons whose office is out that way. I met the usual group of caring professionals there from the clerical to nursing staffs. The surgical techs were super. The doctor himself was the typical well-educated, experienced and caring fellow we have come to expect in practice in this community. We are truly well served. Ah, but might the recent court battle have been another Debby. We’ll see I’m sure.
Life was back to normal on that sunny Saturday after Debby. I ran into an old friend of Longboat Key at that great gathering place, the Cortez Café.
Sandy Gilbert was always one of the good guys.