TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — A report released by the Ruskin office of the National Weather Service compiling the damage we saw from Hurricane Idalia shows the worst of the damage in Manatee and Sarasota counties was due to storm surge. This was anticipated, and storm surge potential is the main factor evacuation zones since it is the most deadly and damaging aspect of hurricanes.
The report for Sarasota County detailed 18 structures destroyed and 1,110 with major damage. The estimated damage totaled more than $2.7 million. The peak water level that was measured in Venice at 1:30 a.m. on Aug. 30 was 3.08 feet. Most of the coastline of Sarasota County saw peak water levels between 2 and 4 feet. The popular St. Armands Circle saw 1 foot of water into businesses and homes.
Storm surge flooding in Sarasota County also damaged roadways and closed roadways. Casey Key Road and Manasota Key Road were washed out by the high water. The intersection of U.S. Highway 41 and Fruitville Road had to be closed due to flooding.
In Manatee County, coastal areas also measured peak high water levels between 2 and 4 feet. The storm surge flooding contributed to a peak water level of 3.69 feet above Mean High High Water (MHHW) of 3.69 feet. Manatee County had 25 structures with major damage and 2 structures with minor damage.
Elsewhere in Tampa Bay, Idalia generated storm surge above normal tide levels. In Hillsborough and Pinellas counties, storm surge reached between 3 and 5 feet. Elevated water levels flooded a number of roads and structures along the water in both Pasco and Hernando counties, and along coastal Citrus County, where storm surge levels were between 4 to 7 feet.
Storm Surge is often the culprit of the worst damage from a hurricane. The saying is “hide from wind, run from water,” meaning most of the time you are safe from hurricane winds in a sound structure, but storm surge can damage, destroy, or move even the most sound structures.