Thursday, July 15, 2010

Cat. 4 storm 'hits' Manatee County

Photo by Tiffany Tompkins-Condie

MANATEE — Using the premise that Manatee County just experienced a direct hit from a major hurricane, more than 100 people from various public agencies and private service organizations participated Thursday in an exercise to develop a long-term recovery plan.

The all-day exercise presented a scenario of the fictitious Hurricane Edward with sustained Category 5 winds of 160 mph pushing a storm surge of 15 feet over Longboat Key and Anna Maria Island.

As the hurricane comes ashore at Category 4 strength, the force of the 145 mph winds and the storm surge wipe out most of the barrier islands, even creating breaches to the Sarasota Bay and leaving very few structures and roads in tact.

The elected officials of most of the government entities, their department chiefs and staff, law enforcement and fire department officials, members of the U.S. Coast Guard, some state agency officials, along with several people from public service organizations, such as the American Red Cross, Salvation Army and United Way, were assigned to specific teams, called Emergency Support Functions.

Having drilled previously on evacuation and immediate response to a disaster, Thursday’s exercise began on the seventh day after the storm struck, and asked participants what their team needed to do to get the county back to normal.

Read more in Thursday's edition of the Herald.

-- Carl Mario Nudi

Find a photo gallery from the drill here.

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