U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan toured by helicopter on Tuesday the damage caused by Hurricane Irma in Manatee and Sarasota counties.
From what he could see during his hour-long flight with the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office, tiles had flicked off rooftops, there was some localized flooding and the beaches on Anna Maria Island would need renourishment.
“We’re going to have to step forward and do more,” he said.
The first and biggest priority would be cleanup and turning back on the electricity, Buchanan said. More than 87,000 Manatee County power customers couldn’t turn on their lights as of Tuesday morning.
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Other challenges to face include the safety of the special needs evacuees and helping businesses reopen so people could go back to work.
Buchanan agreed when Manatee County Sheriff Rick Wells said, “We dodged a bullet.”
“It’s probably a good way of saying that,” he said.