Monday, August 27, 2012

Isaac may 'compromise' Anna Maria Island beaches

Tropical Storm Isaac may not be bringing as much wind and rain as might have been feared, but it may be delivering another punch to Anna Maria Island beaches.

In June, Tropical Storm Debby, which like Isaac remained over the Gulf of Mexico west of Manatee County, severely eroded beaches on Anna Maria Island.

Isaac may do it again.

At a 7 a.m. briefing at the Manatee Emergency Operations Center, operations chief Steve Simpson said officials were expecting waves of 10 to 18 feet off Anna Maria.

"The beaches are going to be a bit compromised again," Simpson said.

Tyler Fleming, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Ruskin, said Manatee County can expect a storm surge of one to three feet.

"With all the water piling up we can expect to see strong rip currents at least through Wednesday,” he said.

Even if the sun comes out it may not be safe to go swimming, Fleming said.

“Pay attention to any signs posted at the beach,” he said. “Rip currents are a very deadly threat.”

Simpson did say officials expect tropical storm-force winds to be out of the area by 1 or 2 p.m., but that rains stirred up by Isaac may continue into mid-week.

As of early Monday, about 20 people were being housed at shelters at Manatee High School and Nolan Middle School, Simpson said.

And fewer than 10 customers were reported to be without power.

-- Miriam Valverde

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