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Manatee County schools reopen Tuesday after Hurricane Ian blew through area

The county is still accepting donations and going about relief efforts for residents hit hard by the storm.

BRADENTON, Fla. — After Hurricane Ian made landfall in Florida, counties across the state are still taking in the aftermath and are conducting relief efforts.

During a news conference Tuesday morning, Manatee County Administrator Dr. Scott Hopes says power is slowly but surely being restored and debris collection is being coordinated.

While Ian was brewing in the Gulf of Mexico aiming directly for the Sunshine State, 17 shelters were opened in the county with a total of 5,000 people staying in them after evacuating.

After the storm blew through the area and made its way across the peninsula, around 198,000 Florida Power & Light customers were left without power while more than 3,600 Peace River Electric Cooperative customers were left in the dark.

As of Tuesday, only 20,000 customers with FPL are without power and 710 without power with Preco.

Across the county, 232 traffic signals were damaged with 1,600 signs down or leaning — 750 of those being stop signs. Crews are in the process of fixing and or replacing them.

Debris collection is also being coordinated with three contractors already working since 6 a.m. Thursday to gather up big chunks.

Hopes reports a total of $76.3 million in residential damage and more than $14 million in commercial damages. Along with the damage, the administrator reported two confirmed deaths in the county as a result of Ian.

“Overall, this was a tough thing for all of us…,"  Bradenton Mayor Gene Brown said during the meeting. "I think the after actions were looking at will help us go forward and again we just want to continue to pray for all of our citizens out east and the people just 30-40 miles to the south of us and further…”

Schools across the county were opened Tuesday morning after closing last week before Ian made landfall.

Donations have been coming into the county, Commissioner George Kruse explains, saying they are floor to ceiling. Those in the Myakka River area are also still in need of dry feed and hay for animals.

But Commissioner Vanessa Baugh said one thing that stood out during the Category 4 hurricane was how the community united.

"The community has come together, we have worked together...we are all citizens of the state of Florida, we all need to get together and help each other," she said.

Watch the full news conference below.

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