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Farmers, others in Manatee County face millions in damage from Hurricane Ian

Sarasota Herald-Tribune 10/4/2022 Jesse Mendoza, Sarasota Herald-Tribune

Manatee County's coastal communities were largely spared from Hurricane Ian's worst impacts, but recovery continues for much of the agricultural communities in the east.

Many homes were flooded or damaged by wind, and local farms are reeling from losses suffered during the storm. The county also reported another death on Friday after a 22-year-old Myakka City woman died in an ATV rollover.

Manatee County Chairman Kevin Van Ostenbridge said the Sugarbowl Road and Clay Gully Road area southeast of Myakka City was most impacted by Hurricane Ian in the county.

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“Myakka has some catastrophic damage in places," Van Ostenbridge said. “The river has flooded dozens of homes. Some people weren’t able to get out of their homes for some time. We had to literally pluck some people off the roof at two separate houses.”

Hurricane Ian claimed the lives of more than 250 cows at the Dakin Dairy Farm. The Manatee County farm is now a community gathering place where residents can find supplies and food. © Courtesy Dakin Dairy Farm Hurricane Ian claimed the lives of more than 250 cows at the Dakin Dairy Farm. The Manatee County farm is now a community gathering place where residents can find supplies and food.

In all, Manatee County estimates there has been about $72 million in residential damage and $13.5 million in commercial damage.

In case you missed it: Hurricane Ian winds, flooding devastate east Manatee County farmers

More: Myakka City woman dies after ATV overturns, may be attributed to Hurricane Ian

Also: Hurricane Ian: As Myakka River basin drains, flood danger increases downstream

Manatee County has helped supply food and resources to residents in the area by supporting the Myakka City Community Center, where officials have established a drive-thru style distribution center offering food, tarps, ice, diapers, dog and cat food, water, electricity, and internet access.

“We have shelter for people who are without housing,” Van Ostenbridge said. “But the folks in Myakka don’t want to leave. Many of them have livestock they have to care for. I respect that, so that’s why we brought the resources out to Myakka.”

County Commissioner James Satcher, who represents eastern Manatee County, said the damage goes beyond crops, livestock and equipment.

“It’s losing their way of life,” Satcher said. “It’s your livelihood, it’s your family, it’s your workers, it’s your legacy, so you don’t want to lose that.”

FPL works to restore power

FPL has restored power to about 83% of its customers. However, several hundred customers remained without power, according to a video update issued Monday by FPL Chairman and CEO Eric Silagy.

He estimated northern Manatee County residents could expect power to be restored as early as Tuesday, and the remaining customers in the county should have power by the end of Wednesday.

Van Ostenbridge said it might take longer for power to be restored for some customers, such as Myakka Elementary School, serviced by the Peace River Electric Cooperative because of significant infrastructure damage suffered by the co-op during the storm.

Storm debris pickup to start Friday

County contractors will pick up storm debris from local residences starting Friday. Officials ask residents to place yard waste as close to the road as possible so “the claw can reach out and grab it.” The landfill is open for residents who would like to dispose of yard waste in the interim.

Garbage collection has returned to its normal schedule, and properly prepared yard waste pickup will resume on Wednesdays. However, recycling collection is suspended until further notice.

This article originally appeared on Sarasota Herald-Tribune: Farmers, others in Manatee County face millions in damage from Hurricane Ian

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