SARASOTA, Fla. (WFLA) — Many residents across Sarasota were surprised to see how much damage Hurricane Idalia left behind in the area. From the bay front to the barrier islands, the damage was widespread.
Most of it came from storm surge and flood waters. Authorities shut down bridges and blocked off several roadways due to the high water levels.
Sarasota police shared images of St. Armands Circle Wednesday showing streets that looked more like streams.
Closer to the city’s center, many onlookers were out near Marina Jack and Bayfront Park checking out the damage and rising tide. Even though the storm stayed well offshore, it still managed to rock numerous boats in Sarasota Bay out of place. One ended up on a park bench at the city park. Two others were tangled in the trees along Tamiami Trail.
The popular waterfront establishment O’Leary’s Tiki Bar and Grill suffered pretty significant damage to its dock. Much of its outdoor eating area was submerged in bay waters well before high tide Wednesday.
“It is crazy. I eat there quite often and it is just insane that it is completely underwater and there is so much damage,” said Sarasota resident Louis Carey.
“I think we dodged a bullet fortunately, but I mean, there is a lot of damage. This is crazy out here at bay front with the waves going over the seawall and everything else over there at the marina, the sidewalk is gone, poor O’Learys. We love, O’Learys,” said downtown resident Bobby Garland.