Live updates: Hurricane Idalia effects in Sarasota


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May 15, 2024

Live updates: Hurricane Idalia effects in Sarasota

Hurricane Idalia intensified overnight from a tropical storm and is expected to continue getting stronger and move north and then northeast toward an expected landfall around Cedar Key as a major

Hurricane Idalia intensified overnight from a tropical storm and is expected to continue getting stronger and move north and then northeast toward an expected landfall around Cedar Key as a major hurricane later tonight or Wednesday. While the system isn't expected to make landfall here, impacts including storm surge, heavy rains, and wind are anticipated for the Sarasota-Manatee County area. Here is what you need to know about the storm and how it will affect the area.

More storm updates:Gov. Ron DeSantis tells residents 'prepare now' as Hurricane Idalia on the way

Hurricane Idalia:Expect power outages. Here's how to prepare, what to do

Publix modified its hours to thousands of stores across Florida including at least three dozen Sarasota and Manatee grocery stores as Hurricane Idalia makes its way to landfall.

Publix stores closed at 5 p.m. Tuesday with plans to reopen at 8 a.m. Aug. 30 including the University Parkway, Bradenton Commons, Shops at Siesta Key, The Landings, and Palmer Ranch locations.

A complete listing of store closures and modified hours at local stores can be found on the Publix Storm website page.

The company posted on its website late Tuesday about its Hurricane Idalia efforts as Florida's largest grocery chain.

Publix media relations manager Hannah Herring stated the company will continue to stay up to date with the storm's path and affected stores Tuesday afternoon via email.

"Our top priority is the safety of our associates, customers, and communities as we continue to monitor Hurricane Idalia," she said.

Additional information, including store status, may be found on

City of Sarasota administrative offices, including all Parks and Recreation facilities, will reopen to the public at 1 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 30 after Hurricane Idalia has passed the area.

Solid waste collection will resume on schedule Thursday, Aug. 31.

Tuesday’s residential garbage/recycling pickup that was suspended due to the storm will be collected Saturday, Sept. 2. Residents should place their carts curbside at their regular time for this special Saturday pickup.

The Bay Runner trolley service will resume at noon Wednesday and the City’s micro-mobility operator, Veo, will return e-scooters to designated areas soon.

Administrative offices closed Monday afternoon following a local state of emergency declaration in preparation for Hurricane Idalia.

The National Hurricane Center's 5 p.m. update said Hurricane Idalia is now a Category 2 storm with sustained winds of 100 mph. The storm was 195 miles southwest of Tampa and moving north at about 16 mph. Forecasters said more intensification is likely and the storm is expected to be a Category 3 system by the time it reaches Florida Wednesday.

Hurricane winds now extend slightly more outward, to 25 miles from the center, while tropical storm force winds reach out to about 160 miles.

As Charlotte County feels the effects of Hurricane Idalia, storm surge, high tides, and excessive rainfall have led to localized flooding, particularly in tidal areas according to a county news release. These conditions will continue to worsen into the evening and overnight, the release stated.

Sections of Riverside Drive and Harborview Road are underwater, near the Peace River. Hydroplaning incidents have been reported. Additional road flooding is expected, the statement said.

Residents and visitors who do not need to travel are advised to remain at home and not drive on roadways.

Charlotte County reminds motorists to remain alert at all times and to exercise caution when traveling. Travelers are encouraged not to drive through roadways that are underwater and find an alternate route. Remember, turn around, don’t drown.

Hurricane Idalia information, Charlotte residents are advised to call the Charlotte County Emergency Operations Center at 941-833-4000.

As Hurricane Idalia approaches Sarasota County, there is no set date for schools to reopen following the storm, the district said in an email Tuesday.

The district will assess damage, repair and clean schools before students return, the district added. Schools remain closed on Wendesday in addition to all after school activities.

The district hopes to provide an update as soon as after the storm passes and it's safe for staff to assess damage.

The first signs of Hurricane Idalia have started to reach the region, and Manatee County is urging residents to sign up for text alerts with the potential for significant flooding and tornadoes.

Authorities urge Manatee County residents to sign up for Alert Manatee, a text message system that delivers real-time information to subscribers. To sign up visit

"We expect to see wind impact throughout the entire county," Manatee County Public Safety Director Jodie Fiske said. "I would also encourage everyone, please get registered for the alerts. Due to the side we are looking to expect, we are expecting to see some tornadic activity. So those alerts will go out as soon as we receive them from the national weather service. The coastal area, however, will definitely see the higher wind gusts and they will see the surge."

A storm surge of 4 to 7 feet is expected after the wind and rain impacts reach the area. Manatee County Chairman Kevin Van Ostenbridge emphasized that residents should avoid flooded roads.

"Remember, a flooded road is a closed road," Van Ostenbridge said. "You don't know what's under there. You don't know if there is a potential washout or if there are downed power lines."

Manatee County residents who live in evacuation level A remain under a mandatory evacuation. Level B is under voluntary evacuation in the county as well. Residents can look up their evacuation level at

Hurricane Idalia's greatest impact on Sarasota County may come from storm surge, with the National Weather Service calling for a surge of 3 to 5 feet.

Sarasota County interim emergency manager Scott Montgomery said, that, for example at Venice Beach, a 3 to 5-foot above-ground level storm surge would mean the water would be up to the beach parking lot and and the adjacent north-south street, The Esplanade.

But with the anticipated King Tide high tide accompanying Wednesday’s super moon, the surge may easily cross the street.

“Three to five feet is flooding along the roads that you have and even The Crow’s Nest,” Montgomery said.

“St. Armands will have some flooding along the street, especially Ben Franklin" Drive to South Lido; on Siesta Key, Beach Road will probably have some water on it … That’s on the current track we have on the 7 a.m. (Tuesday) National Weather Service call and that’s what they’re still forecasting,” Montgomery said. “If it jogs a little bit west and north, then we may not have that.”

Without the King Tide, the 3 to 5-foot storm surge shouldn’t flood the Gulfstream Roundabout along U.S. 41 in Sarasota, Montgomery said, then added “the current scenario with winds coming out of the southwest, it’s possible.”

Sarasota County Hurricane Evacuation Centers opened at 8 a.m. Tuesday. Montgomery said that at 12:30 p.m. there were about 174 people in those shelters – including 30 people with special needs in the shelter for medically dependent residents, though county officials have called all residents on their list and roughly 150 people are going to be picked up and taken to the shelter.

“That process is actively working right now,” Montgomery said.

Montgomery said that from what he’s seen and heard from employees going through their own hurricane preparation, Sarasota County residents are taking Hurricane Idalia seriously.

“Lines at gas stations are pretty long and the grocery stores are working diligently to make sure there’s water and foodstuffs,” Montgomery said. “Hurricane Ian, I think, was an interesting time for all of us and people still have that in the back of their mind.”

In anticipation of tropical storm force winds, all moveable bridges over the Intracoastal Waterway in Sarasota County and the city of Venice have been locked down for vehicular traffic and closed to marine traffic.

Bridges affected are Manasota Beach Road, Venice Avenue, Albee Road, Blackburn Point Road, KMI Bridge Bridge and Circus Bridge on U.S. 41 Business in Venice, Stickney Point Road, Siesta Drive and New Pass.

The Salvation Army Manatee County announced it will stay open for homeless shelter services during Hurricane Idalia.

Limited emergency overnight shelter space will be offered for free to people experiencing homelessness. Check-in will begin at 6 p.m., but it could start earlier depending on weather conditions.

While the Salvation Army is not an emergency storm evacuation center, Virgin Mills, Jessie P. Miller, and Freedom Elementary Schools will be open as designated storm shelters in Manatee County. Those seeking shelter will be able to take county buses to designated storm shelters.

The Salvation Army administrative offices will be closed at 12 p.m. on Tuesday and will reopen at 8 a.m. on Thursday.

The Sarasota Bradenton International Airport (SRQ) has announced it will close to all air traffic and the terminal will be locked and secured beginning at 7 p.m. Tuesday. SRQ plans to reopen at 8 a.m. Wednesday, Aug. 30, pending damage assessment. Travelers should check directly with their airline for the latest flight information, an airport news release stated.

"The airport terminal is not a shelter. Please check with your local county regarding shelter locations," the release added, saying updates would be provided as they become available on the SRQ Facebook page andTwitter@SRQAirport.

Nate’s Honor Animal Rescue has received 20 animals from Gilchrist County Animal Services, which lies in the projected path of Hurricane Idalia. Gilchrist County Animal Services, like many of NHAR’s rural transfer partners, has little to no indoor housing for the animals in their care.

The cats and dogs arrived at Nate’s Honor Animal Rescue’s Lorraine Road facility around noon. Executive Director Dari Oglesby coordinated the transfer in partnership with Cat Depot who will be caring for some of the cats on transport. “I couldn’t sleep thinking that these animals might have to ride out a hurricane of this magnitude in outdoor or temporary structures. We are lucky to have new construction designed to withstand hurricane forces, and have a responsibility to help the animals in parts of our state who are in a more direct path,” said Oglesby.

Early Tuesday, dark clouds had already started rolling into Sarasota and Manatee counties ahead of Hurricane Idalia's expected landfall Wednesday morning.

At Jessie P. Miller Elementary School, about 20 shelter staff including school administration, county volunteers, law enforcement, and medical personnel waited inside to care for those looking for shelter. Principal Debbie Riley, who's been an administrator for 10 years, said she's operated the school as a shelter for three hurricanes, including Irma, Ian, and now, Idalia.

Read the full story here.

Herald-Tribune news columnist Chris Anderson writes:

"The Sarasota-Bradenton area has never taken a direct hit from a hurricane since reliable records began in 1871. This is such an impressive streak some local Realtors use it in sales pitches to out-of-state homebuyers."

Read the full opinion column here.

Herald-Tribune reporter Jesse Mendoza posts an update from Beneva and Fruitville roads in Sarasota:

Uber is offering free round-trip rides to storm shelters, Manatee County government announced:

Can't see the post? Read it here.

Sarasota and Manatee County storm shelters are open and still accepting residents as of 12:30 p.m. Tuesday.

More local storm coverage:Sarasota-Manatee shelters open ahead of Hurricane Idalia, community seeks 'peace of mind'

Opinion:Ever since Donna, Sarasota has seen more snow than sustained hurricane winds

Shelters will be open throughout the evening, but an exact closing time will be determined tomorrow by the EOC and the school district, Sarasota Schools spokesperson Craig Maniglia said.

Shelters can accommodate medical needs and pets if needed. To find your local shelter, visit and to keep up to date with school district hurricane updates visit

FPL spokesperson Bill Orlove said the energy company has been finalizing preparations for Hurricane Idalia.

By Tuesday morning, at least 50 trucks have staged at Robarts Arena with more trucks trickling in throughout the day, Orlove said.

Once the storm crosses the state, 12,000 FPL employees will be on standby to help with power recovery. They have been monitoring the track and intensity to determine the best place to pre-stage so they can hit the ground running once it’s safe to do so.

“We feel we’re in a good position to handle whatever mother nature throws our way,” Orlove said. “No area is hurricane proof or storm proof – and we know we’ll have outages – but we feel we’re in the best position to get the light back on as quickly and safely as possible.

Along the location in Sarasota, there will be three sites throughout the state where personnel and equipment have been mobilized. The two other sites are in the panhandle and just outside of Jacksonville. Orlove couldn’t give a specific number of how many of those employees would be based in Sarasota, but he said that they’ve distributed employees based on the projected storm impact.

Prior to hurricane season, FPL hardened underground and overhead powerlines, implemented smart grids, and tree-trimmed near powerlines to minimize outages.

Following the hurricane, patrollers will survey for damage and send information to the command center. They’ll determine where to send the crews, and within 24 hours, they’ll let customers know when their power will turned back on.

Orlove said that while most people will have their power restored within that 24-hour frame, areas that have more damage may have delayed restoration. He suggested that FPL customers download the FPL app to receive the most up-to-date information about an outage in their area.

He emphasized the importance of prioritizing safety by staying far away from downed powered lines, standing water, and flooding.

“After a storm passes, it’s not a time to look at damage,” Orlove “It’s the time to stay at home and allow first responders and crews to do what they need to return to normalcy.”

Crews are preparing for potential weather bands that often follow after hurricanes and move through the area. Even if the storm may not be totally cleared of the state the crew will still be working. They’ll still be able to restore so long as winds are below 30 mph.

Longboat Key is already experiencing flooding ahead of Hurricane Idalia. Video provided by Rusty Chinnis:

Salvation Army shelter services in Manatee County to remain open during Hurricane Idalia

The Salvation Army will remain open for homeless shelter services in Manatee County during Hurricane Idalia.

Limited emergency overnight shelter space will be offered free of charge for homeless individuals seeking shelter during the storm until capacity is reached.

Check-in begins at 6 p.m. but could start earlier based on weather conditions.

Capacity is limited.

County buses are available to take those seeking shelter to designated storm shelters.

The Salvation Army is not an emergency storm evacuation center. Virgil Mills, Jessie P. Miller and Freedom elementary schools are the open designated storm shelters in Manatee County at this time.

Administrative Offices for The Salvation Army in Manatee County will close at noon Tuesday and reopen at 8:30 a.m. Thursday.

Water levels were elevated on the downtown Sarasota bayfront at high tide before noon on Tuesday.

Just a couple of the stores in The Shoppes at Bay Isles on Longboat Key remained open as Hurricane Idalia picked up speed aimed at Florida's Gulf coast. Sarasota and Manatee counties have issued evacuation orders for all barrier islands.

Still, a steady stream of shoppers pushed carts through the center's parking lot Tuesday morning.

Karen Iannello, who has lived on Longboat Key for the past 20 years, loaded her SUV with some dry goods and non-perishable food.

She picked up cases of water earlier and now believes she's ready to ride out the storm on the barrier island.

Her two-story home sits about 11 feet above sea level.

She expressed some frustration that not all of the barrier island's power lines had yet been buried, noting that her neighborhood lost power for 10 days after Hurricane Ian.

Her son lives in Tampa, and has offered a place for Iannello, but she with the direction of the storm "it may be worse off there than here."

Iannello understands the risks and gladly accepts the tradeoffs.

"It's a little bit risky to live here," she said, "but I wouldn't give it up."

Bob Goldsmith is unsure if he will evacuate or not, but had driven to Publix from his Queen Harbor neighborhood to pick up ice just in case he stayed.

He said he checked nearby hotels, but he must have waited too long as none of the ones he called had available rooms.

Still, his home is also at 11 or 12 feet above sea level and he's hoping the predicted storm surge won't threaten his property.

"I'm feeling confident, but you never know," Goldsmith said. "Crazy stuff happens."

Manatee County residents who live in evacuation level A remain under a mandatory evacuation, as Hurricane Idalia nears west Florida.

Level A includes Manatee County barrier islands, low-lying areas, and all mobile homes or RVs regardless of location. Residents can look up their evacuation level at Level B is under voluntary evacuation in the county as well.

Residents can take emergency shelter at Virgil Mills Elementary School at 7200 69th Street E. Palmetto, Jesse P. Miller Elementary School at 60143rd St. W, Bradenton, and Freedom Elementary School at 9515 FL 64, Bradenton.

The predominant concern in Manatee is storm surge, although authorities are not ruling out the possibility of a direct impact. The county expects that most of the storm's local effects from the storm will reach the community late Tuesday or early Wednesday.

“It’s important to remember how unpredictable these storms can be,” Manatee County Public Safety Deputy Director Steve Litschauer said. “We need to stay vigilant as the conditions continue to deteriorate.”

Manatee County is planning to issue an update at 3 p.m. with further instructions for residents.

Non-emergency services in the city of North Port remain closed. The city declared a state of emergency at 3:30 p.m. Monday.

As Tropical Storm Idalia makes its approach, the George Mullen Activity Center, Morgan Family Community Center, North Port Aquatic Center, and Warm Mineral Springs Park will be closed on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Rentals and programs scheduled at these facilities will be canceled and rescheduled to a later date if possible.

There is no solid waste collection Tuesday and any bulk pick-ups scheduled have been canceled.

Monday's updates:Surge warnings and evacuations in Sarasota-Manatee

The city of Venice is still operating a self-service sandbag station Tuesday at Wellfield Park, 1400 Lucaya Avenue. Bags are available until noon at Venice Public Works, 1350 Ridgewood Avenue. Limit 10 bags per household, shovels are on site.

The station at Venice Community Center is at capacity and out of sand.

Do not go to Venice City Hall for bags, it is closed.

All non-emergency city services are closed, as are the Venice Police Department lobby and the South Jetty at Humphries Park.

There will be no city trash or recycling on Tuesday or Wednesday with the remainder of the week to be determined.

Currently, there is no water shutoff for the city of Venice.

See what the National Weather Service says the Sarasota-Manatee area will experience from Hurricane Idalia over the next 24 hours.

Evacuations: Out of an abundance of caution, Sarasota County is calling for a Level A evacuation. Evacuation Centers opened at 8 a.m. on Tuesday, August 29. Click here for a list of evacuation centers. Find more information, including what to bring, here. Use the Know Your Evacuation Level tool to find evacuation levels.

Sandbag Operations: Sandbag operations are also planned for Tuesday, August. 29, from 7 a.m. to noon. Please note that changes in weather patterns could impact sandbag operation times. Shovels and bags will be available on-site. There is a limit of 10 sandbags per vehicle.

Breeze Transit: Breeze will operate fare-free standard service until noon. Ticket outlets will be closed.

Water Service: In anticipation of potential impacts from Hurricane Idalia, at 3 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 29, Sarasota County Utilities will shut off water service to residents and businesses located on Casey Key. After water service ends, county utility customers will not have water for use until after the storm. Residents and businesses are encouraged to please plan accordingly.

Solid Waste services: All solid waste collection services scheduled for Tuesday, Aug. 29, have been canceled for residents of unincorporated Sarasota County. Residents living in the municipalities should contact their local authorities for additional information. Collection services for garbage, recycling and yard waste for the remainder of the week will be delayed by at least one day. Conditions will be assessed after the storm passes to determine when services will resume. Updates on service will be posted to and Sarasota County Government social media. CLOSED Tuesday, Aug. 29: Central County Landfill, Citizens’ Convenience Center and the Bee Ridge Chemical Collection Center. The Jackson Road Chemical Collection Center remains closed due to impacts from Hurricane Ian.

Other reminders:All Sarasota County Government offices are closed through Wednesday, Aug. 30.

Stay updated on, text SRQCounty to 888777, follow @SRQCountyGov on social media, and sign up for newsletters from Sarasota County

More storm updates:Hurricane Idalia:Tuesday’s residential garbage/recycling pickup that was suspended due to the storm will be collected Saturday, Sept. 2.More local storm coverage:Opinion:Monday's updates:Evacuations:Sandbag OperationsBreeze Transit:Water ServiceSolid Waste services:CLOSEDOther reminders: