Torrential Tuesday

Date:

STEVE REID
Editor & Publisher
sreid@lbknews.com

Year after year, Longboaters and Sarasota residents brace for storms. They do so watching frenetic newscasts and make a decision whether to stay or go.

But last Tuesday evening, rain in some places totaling one foot drenched the entire region rendering a landscape both Biblical in nature as well as a harbinger of global warming.

By 9 p.m., dozens of cars could be seen stranded in St. Armands Circle, on sidewalks and directly in the roadways. Some drivers plowed through more than 20 inches of water, while workers on Lido Key in the hotels and restaurants, wondered if they could make it home after their shifts.

In total, City officials say more than 80 water rescue calls were placed for stranded vehicles. The deluge also left inches of standing water in businesses on St. Armands Circle Wednesday morning at opening time.

In response, the City of Sarasota declared a State of Emergency allowing City Government to spend resources with fewer constraints.

On Wednesday, Gov. Ron DeSantis followed suit and declared a State of Emergency for Sarasota County, as well as Broward, Collier, Lee and Miami-Dade.

One St. Armands gallery owner said there was three feet of water on the sidewalk Tuesday evening, and more than 40 disabled vehicles were left behind.
Wednesday morning on St. Armands Circle was met with a flurry of mopping, cleaning, and possible insurance claims.

Café L’Europe reported five inches of water throughout the restaurant on the Circle. The region has experienced one of the driest Spring seasons on record up until this past week. Unfortunately, the saturated soils quickly created the situation of flooding and damage instead of the usual afternoon showers, which are absorbed gradually.

Part of the problem on St. Armands Circle in particular is the fact that the concave nature of the shopping district quickly floods once the storm drains and drainage system is overwhelmed.

Longboat Key experienced flooding as well in low-lying areas and in roadways throughout the Village on the north end. Numerous Bird Key homes experienced flooding in their garages and on the ground floor of structures built on grade.

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