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Holmes Beach weathers Debby, some damages reported

By Kathy Prucnell, Islander Reporter

Teetering atop Martinique South, 5200 Gulf Drive, Holmes Beach, is part of the roof tropical storm winds stripped off the building June 25. Some of the material fell onto resident Gillian Kendall’s car in the parking lot. Islander Courtesy Photos: Harold Britt

Timesaver manager Mondher Kobrosly and friend Ted Geeraerts stand below the boarded-up front of the food mart at 5353 Gulf Drive, Holmes Beach, where an overhang existed before Tropical Storm Debby’s winds blew it off June 25. Islander Photo: Kathy Prucnell

Tropical Storm Debby whipped up winds that damaged at least two buildings in Holmes Beach June 25 near the Gulf of Mexico.

    Reporting significant damage from the storm in the city were Timesaver, 5353 Gulf Drive, and Martinique South, 5200 Gulf Drive.

    Time Saver lost the front façade and overhang that stretched the width of its building at about 3 a.m.

    “It came out in one piece,” said store manager Mondher Kobrosly. “It not only pulled out the whole facade, it pulled off part of the roof.”

    The store also lost cameras, lighting and signs, he said.

    “According to people around here, they heard a big bang. They thought it was a transformer,” said Kobrosly.

    He was thankful no one was injured, and also for his friend and building contractor, Ted Geeraerts, who enlisted help to board up the store’s exposed front, preventing further damage in the early morning hours before Kobrosly arrived at 8:30 a.m.

    Timesaver had remodeled a few months ago, Kobrosly added.

    Later the same day, at approximately 6:45 p.m., winds stripped off a 50-by-45-foot section of the roof at Martinique South, according to building superintendent Harold Britt.

    The roof blew off, and fell on top of the only car in the parking lot at the time, according to Britt and the car’s owner, Martinique resident Gillian Kendall.

    Kendall had been watching the storm from her window, and said the Gulf’s rising tides had taken away 100 feet of beach.

    “It looked like the North Atlantic,” she said, adding she worried about the marked turtle nests she had observed on the beach before the storm.

    Britt said the storm also damaged air conditioner compressors on the roof, caused water damage to six units and blew out glass from windows and doors in the community room.

    The storm’s high tides created flooding in portions of the city despite the new stormwater system serving areas from city hall to the north end of the city, according to Mayor Rich Bohnenberger.

    “The tides have been super high,” he said. “No drainage system would have been able to handle them any better.”

    Fifty-nine calls were logged in by West Manatee Fire Rescue June 23-26, according to a WMFR report.

    Due to TS Debby, calls on June 24 and June 25 were higher than usual, according to WMFR Deputy Chief Brett Pollock. Most weather-related calls involved utility lines down, “arcing” and shorted electrical equipment, he said.

    “There may have been lots of flooding going on — just no calls,” said Pollock.

    At WMFR’s Station 1 in Holmes Beach, Lt. Jeff Lonzo said Island firefighters handled numerous calls June 24- 25.

    On June 25, firefighters from Station 1 responded to eight calls, including a child and dog locked in a car at the north end of Anna Maria, power lines down, arcing wires, medical assists and two structure fires, one on Longboat Key and one on 70th Street, Holmes Beach, Lonzo said.

    No injuries or major damages were reported.

    National Weather Service meteorologist Richard Rude said a buoy offshore of Anna Maria Island measured peak gusts of 47 mph at 7:18 p.m. June 25. He said rainfall measured 9.99 inches from a reporting station in Bradenton from 2 p.m. June 21 to 2 p.m. June 26.

HB mayor misses Anna Maria opening, praises his staff

    Fact checking — it’s not only something for the media.

    A memorandum from Holmes Beach Mayor Rich Bohnenberger sent to staff and media June 26 states, “Holmes Beach was the only Island city open for business Monday, June 25, during the storm.”

    However, one of the two other cities on Anna Maria Island was open for business June 25.

    Anna Maria City Clerk Alice Baird said all departments and city hall were open regular hours June 25, and fielding reports of “quite a bit of flooding” and “beach erosion.”

    Islander reporter Rick Catlin visited Anna Maria City Hall that day and confirmed city hall was open to the public.

    Bradenton Beach Deputy Clerk Tammy Johnson said that while Bradenton Beach city hall was closed, its police and public works director were on the job.

    Bohnenberger — who is running for re-election Nov. 6 against challenger Carmel Monti — sent the erroneous information in a memo to his staff — with copies to the media.

    In the memo, he also thanked his staff for a job well done and for dedication to duty.

        He said, “We can all be proud to have served our city providing full service during the adverse storm conditions.”.”

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