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Date of Issue: September 03, 2008

Gustav makes waves for Island on path for La.

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North Anna Maria bayfront homes are battered by the high surf in Tampa Bay.
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On the beach in Anna Maria on Sunday afternoon, as Gustav passed by far out in the Gulf of Mexico.
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Wipeout. Gustav generated waves, bringing out surfers to the White Avenue beach, pictured here Sunday, and all along the Gulf Sunday and Monday.
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Waves roll in the bay.
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High water collects in the street on the bayside in north Anna Maria.

The outer bands of Hurricane Gustav brought heavy rain, strong winds, big waves, dense clouds and some damage to Anna Maria Island Aug. 31.

The storm was far west of the Island and roaring northwest on Aug. 31, expected to make landfall in Louisiana on Sept. 1, as TheIslander went to press.

As residents of New Orleans and other areas on the northern Gulf coast were evacuating, Islanders got just a glimpse of Gustav’s strength.

“The water is so high now, I can’t imagine what a storm would do to this Island if one hit,” vacationer Vicki Walters of Detroit said as she watched waves roll ever closer to the Sandbar Restaurant Aug. 31.

Strong waves knocked down at least one seawall on the bayside of Anna Maria City. Bay water spilled over other seawalls, smacked against waterfront homes and flooded sections of North Shore Drive and other streets.

On the Gulf shore, the waves provided thrills for surfers, skimboarders and swimmers off the beaches.

But the waves also threatened a number of sea turtle nests as high tide and big waves washed over dozens of nests.

“Huge, huge loss today,” said AMITW executive director Suzi Fox. She said AMITW would try to take an inventory of losses on Monday or Tuesday, depending on the weather.

On Aug. 30, thunderstorms associated with Gustav also fell on Anna Maria Island. A boater from Apollo Beach suffered injuries when his boat was struck by lightning near the Cortez Bridge. The strike also caused a small fire on the boat, according to West Manatee Fire Rescue District.

As Gustav headed for the northern Gulf Coast, forecasters were keeping watch on two other systems - tropical storm Hanna in the Atlantic and a tropical wave a about 950 miles east-northeast of the Leeward Islands.

“Conditions appear to be conducive for development,” read an advisory from the National Hurricane Center in regards to the tropical wave.

Hanna, the eighth named storm of the Atlantic hurricane season, had not gained in intensity over the weekend, with 50 mph winds.