MANATEE CO., Florida -- Two months ago, Tropical Storm Debby washed away the sand covering a dozen concrete barriers on Manatee County beaches. Now, they sit exposed like man-made jetties.
Manatee Emergency Management officials say Debby left Manatee County's coastline vulnerable to more severe damage from other storms like Isaac.
County officials estimate Debby caused $7 million in beach erosion. At high tide, the distance from the water line on Coquina Beach to the road is less than 100 feet, and what's left Isaac might chip away at it.
"It's going to be like Debby.A llot of beach erosion, flooded roads, torrential rains," said Manatee County Emergency Management Chief Laurie Feagans.
"It's affected my quality of life," said Mike Conforta. He regularly visits Coquina Beach. Mike said the beach is about 100 yards shorter, there's more seaweed, and he has less desire to visit.
"I remember the beach used to be a lot more clutter free. Now, in the water, [I] step on rocks," he said.
His friend, Jason Procaccini, said this time he's not waiting around for Isaac. "I live in a mobile home. Next two nights, I'll be in a hotel getting out of dodge."
Bill and Meike Dooley live on the north end of Longboat Key just south of Coquina Beach and, unlike Debby, they say they'll be ready for Isaac. The Dooleys have filled 30 sandbags to place around the doors leading to the inside of their home.
Meike said during Debby they were surrounded by knee-deep water forfour days.
Storm surge and high tide from Debby flooded the Dooleys' first floor, their backyard, and street. The water was deep enough to get through by kayak. Emergency management officials projectfour toseven inches of rain and storm surge up tothree tofive feet higher than Debby.
Meike said, "With the storm surge, high tide, and additional storm surge, we will probably have a lot of water again. We need to be prepared."
But she said the flooding isn't enough to make her want to move off the beach. "No, we love the beach. Love it here. There are just a few hiccups."
The word from Sarasota County Emergency officials is if you flooded during Tropical Storm Debby, prepare to flood again.
Some emergency officials are calling Tropical Storm Isaac "Debbie on steroids." They strongly recommend people living on Manasota Key, North Longboat Key, in mobile homes, and in low-lying areas to evacuate. The county activated its Emergency Operations Center Sunday and openedthree shelters for anyone wanting to evacuate.
You can contact Sarasota County at941-861-5000 or www.scgov.net.