Tropical Storm Andrea continues to track northeast in the Gulf of Mexico, bringing high wind and at least two inches of new rainfall to Sarasota County, according to the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration.
Winds will be south-southwest from 24 to 29 miles per hour, including gusts as high as 40 miles per hour, according to forecasts. Expect rain, and high tide will affect Sarasota Bay beginning at 10 a.m.
Sarasota County Emergency Management Chief Ed McCrane said he has concerns about the potential for flooding and isolated tornadoes throughout the afternoon. Drivers should avoid flooded areas, and residents should limit outdoor activites until the storm passes, he said.
The county has activated its emergency operations center to level two, and has staged stormwater and utility teams staging throughout the week to respond to effects from the storm.
Warren LaBonte, owner of the Siesta Key Beach Pavilion restaurant, called restaurant staff off of work for the day in anticipation of high winds and rain.
“We made that decision at 6:30 this morning,” LaBonte said.
But, he’s holding out hope for a calm afternoon. “I think it’ll blow over in the next few hours and could even be sunny this afternoon,” LaBonte said.
“(Residents) should use this as a reminder that hurricane season is upon us,” McCrane said, and the next storm could be much more severe. Residents should use this as an opportunity to prepare a home survival kit and plan for severe weather.
Click here to visit the Sarasota County Emergency services webpage, or call 941-861-5000 to speak with representatives from the county.