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Islanders invited to storm preparation meeting

By Mark Young, Islander Reporter

Sarasota Bay waters rise during Tropical Storm Debby in late June, spilling into the streets of Bradenton Beach. TS Debby was a reminder that islanders need to remain vigilant during hurricane season. Islanders are invited to attend an Aug. 15 meeting at Holmes Beach City Hall, 5801 Marina Drive, to learn what to do during a storm. Islander Photo: Mark Young

The 2012 hurricane season has been fairly quiet thus far, but it is a long way from over — with three months remaining in a season predicted to have 13 named storms, six hurricanes and three major hurricanes.

According to weather.com, a late-developing El Nino system has slowed hurricane development, but as such storms as Andrew and Katrina have proven, it only takes one to cause devastation.

For residents on Anna Maria Island and other coastal cities, vigilance during hurricane season should remain a high priority.

Bradenton Beach Commissioner Gay Breuler said that’s the reason for an Aug. 15 hurricane preparedness meeting being held at Holmes Beach City Hall, 5801 Marina Drive.

“It’s always good for people to be prepared,” said Breuler, who organized the meeting after commissioners from the three island cities agreed it was necessary. Especially, said Breuler, following the aftermath of Tropical Storm Debby, June 24-26, to remind islanders what to do in the event of a major storm.

“I’ve had a lot of questions from people about what they are supposed to do,” said Breuler. “It was brought up at a meeting that we would like to do something for all three of our cities, and I just picked up the ball and set up the meeting.”

Breuler said the meeting will feature talks on what citizens need to do if an evacuation is ordered, how and when they can get back on the island and general hurricane preparedness.

“There’s a lot of people that need to know what to do if a storm comes through and someone decides the island needs to be evacuated,” she said. “The people of Anna Maria have to come through Holmes Beach, and the people of Bradenton Beach can either go out through Longboat Key, Cortez or Holmes Beach. So we all have to know what the other city is doing.”

Breuler said TS Debby was a good reminder of why everyone needs to be prepared for a storm and to have evacuation plans in place.

“It’s the reason why we wanted to have this meeting now,” she said. “Debby reminded everybody how vulnerable we can be as coastal cities, and it’s just a good idea to keep your preparations and knowledge of what to do fresh in your mind.”

The Aug. 15 meeting will begin at 6:30 p.m. and is free to attend.

Emergency management personnel will be guest speakers. There also will be a question-and-answer session.

For more information, contact Breuler at 941-727-5210.

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