Manatee County Sheriff Rick Wells summed up the emergency management’s final Hurricane Irma briefing with a simple but important message.
“We dodged a bullet,” Wells said.
The mandatory curfew that went into effect yesterday at 3 p.m. was lifted earlier this morning. Wells said residents cooperated with the order and their were no issues or arrests.
The only known crime associated to the storm was a convenience store burglary that the sheriff’s office is investigating.
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Power remains out in areas of the county and Wells urged caution as residents get out and about. Damage has been minimal overall, butd ebris is on the roads, some power lines remain down and some intersections remain without power.
Intersections without power should be treated as a four-way stop sign intersection.
“We were very lucky, very fortunate,” Emergency Management Chief Sherilyn Burris said,.
Damage assessment will continue throughout the day, and FEMA has declared the county as a natural disaster, opening the door for claims to begin.
Anna Maria Island will contend with drinking water issues due to saltwater intrusion, but Wells said no significant damage was reported from the island.
Officials caution everyone to remain patient in the days ahead as crews work to restore power and get fuel trucks into the county. In the meantime, some 20,000 residents return to their homes today from local shelters.
Commissioner Robin DiSabatino thanked the school district for all they did to accommodate everyone.
“We were very fortunate to be spared,” she said.