Tropical Storm Colin lacked the punch of a hurricane, but he did deliver an important message to local residents.
"The storm has left us, but it was a good wake-up call," Don Hermey, Manatee County Emergency Management chief, told Manatee County commissioners in their chambers Tuesday. "Since we have new residents, they learned from this."
Bradenton and other coastal areas of Tampa Bay were under a flood watch for most of Tuesday, as winds and heavy rains continue to buffet the area after Tropical Storm Colin passed across Florida and into the Atlantic Ocean. Tuesday afternoon, the flood watch for Manatee and the surrounding area was extended until 8 p.m. Wednesday.
The storm made landfall overnight Monday in the Big Bend are of Florida as it made its way northeast.
The return to normalcy took another step when just after noon, officials announced that the Sunshine Skyway Bridge, which had been closed since Monday morning because of high winds, was reopened to traffic.
There might be more rain showers Tuesday before Tropical Storm Colin completely clears out, Hermey said.
"Really, what makes me nervous about this is that here we are at Day 7 and we already have had three named storms," Hermey said. The 2016 hurricane season officially started June 1.
Hermey cautioned that Manatee County now had to start dealing with the normal summer rains with rivers already filled with rainwater from Colin.
"We will be focusing on our river gauges," Hermey said.
Four sunken boats. Debris from a houseboat floating under the pier. Six boats disabled, brushing up against the Bradenton City Pier and Day Dock. That’s what Bradenton Beach police Chief Sam Speciale had to say about the damage to boats in the bay Tuesday morning. The pier was closed until Tuesday afternoon, but the day dock remained closed until the boats are cleared.
On the rest of Anna Maria Island, tree debris was scattered on most streets. The waves and wind were high, but Anna Maria Island Turtle Watch volunteers were on the beach checking for nests.
Tammy Rosenfeld and Amy Waterbury, two second-year volunteers, said they found a new nest in the sand dunes and one false crawl — sea turtle tracks but no nest. They said the turtle laid her eggs sometime Monday night or Tuesday morning, and since it’s so far from the water, the eggs might have a better chance of survival.
Inland, numerous trees were reported downed by wind Monday night, including a 145-year-old tree in McKelvey Park at 43rd Street and Manatee Avenue West.
On 30th Street West, a large oak tree in front of a residence fell about two minutes after two girls arrived home at 4 p.m. Neighbor Norma Kinnett, 71, has lived across the street since 1978, and said the tree had been troublesome for two years. The city tagged it with a red tag.
“It was an ominous thing,” she said. “Something bad’s gonna happen.”
Right after the girls got home, Kinnett said she heard a banging sound. Smoke and flashes came from hot wires sitting in puddles and she could smell it from her front porch. Her 2-year-old basset hound-labrador rescue, Red, hid in a corner of her home.
“The tree had fallen all the way over, almost up their driveway and they had just gotten into the house,” she said.
With one battery bar left on her flip phone, Kinnett called 911 first, then her husband, John. The girls’ mother came home just minutes after.
“I was screaming at her because the hot wires were down on the ground on my sidewalk and in the street,” Kinnett said. “It was a scary situation when I thought Jennifer was going to get out of her car.”
Kinnett estimated the tree to be about 300 years old.
“They’re so old and sometimes they get rotten on the inside,” she said, noting that this and strong winds caused the fall. She didn’t get power back in her home until 2 a.m. Tuesday.
Herald staff writer Richard Dymond contributed to this report.