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Manatee shelters close as evacuees return home

Hurricane Matthew had minimal impacts on the weather, and except for closing the public schools, life in general in Manatee County.

Nearly 300 evacuees from Florida’s east coast sought refuge in Manatee County public shelters — which have since closed — as Hurricane Matthew barrelled its way north. Also Friday, a tropical storm watch for Manatee County was lifted.

The impacts of Hurricane Matthew in Manatee County have been minimal, according to Sherilyn Burris, Manatee’s acting emergency management chief.

“Earlier this morning, the storm tracked a little east, keeping winds further offshore and that makes our weather a lot better than we thought it was going to be,” Burris said Friday.

Despite overcast skies Friday morning, conditions improved dramatically by early afternoon.

Saturday’s forecast calls partly cloudy and breezy conditions with a high of 88 and a low of 72.

Local residents who evacuated to one of the four public shelters Manatee County opened Thursday afternoon were asked to go home Friday since the threat of the hurricane had passed, according to county spokesman Nicholas Azzara.

“All of the remaining evacuees who fled the east coast returned to their homes today after conditions improved,” Azzara said.

After the special-needs shelter closed, community paramedics brought leftover supplies to Turning Points, the Bradenton homeless services agency.

“There’s a lot of supplies that are used for special-needs shelters like blankets and pillows,” Community Paramedic Chief James Crutchfield said. “Typically those things are thrown away.”

Angie Hadlock, who had staffed the shelter Thursday, had the idea to donate the supplies instead.

“Angie was thinking outside of the box,” Crutchfield said.

She made a call to Turning Points, which was happy to accept the donations.

Residents can call the Citizens Information Center line at 941-748-4501 with questions or to report storm-related damage. The CIC number is (941) 748-4501.

Jessica De Leon: 941-745-7049, @JDeLeon1012

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