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Date of Issue: June 14, 2007

Storm, hail hit Holmes Beach

OMG: Hail hits Holmes Beach
Pea- and marble-sized hail fell on the deck of one Holmes Beach residence during Friday night's "hard rain." Islander Photo: Bonner Joy
Westbay Cove roof, unit damages
Bill Shuman of Westbay Cove condos on Manatee Avenue reported damage to one building’s roof and significant damage to two units, evidenced by debris and insulation at the curb. Islander Photo: Bill Shuman

Oh my goodness. Hail in Holmes Beach. Who could believe it? Has it happened before in Holmes Beach or on Anna Maria Island?

Evidently one person didn’t believe it could happen. The Holmes Beach Police Department reported a man in the 3100 block of Avenue F received "severe lacerations from hail."

But Michael Pierce, visiting from Liverpool, England, was looking for his family when the storm stuck. His wife and children had gone for a walk on the beach. The storm and hail struck him, and he was treated by Emergency Medical Services at the scene for a large cut on his head and then with help from HBPD, he found his family safe at their motel in Bradenton Beach, having taken the trolley to avoid the storm.

There was also a lightning "show" with almost constant lightning observed by stormwatchers.

Lightning apparently struck the Martinique North six-story condo building at 5300 Gulf Drive in Holmes Beach and the resulting power outage left one person stuck in the elevator. The stranded person made it out on his own. The West Manatee Fire Rescue District, arrived at-the-ready with its hook-and-ladder truck, and firefighters disposed of a small fire in the elevator motor housing, possibly caused by lightning, according to an HBPD report.

Over near Manatee Avenue, there was roof damage to one of the condo buildings at Westbay Cove and "significant damage to two condo units" according to Bill Shuman, who said board member Dick Kowal initiated the condo’s disaster recovery plan and contacted their insurance carrier and contractors, who put a temporary cover over the roof of the damaged building.

In all, the storm came and went quickly with the most severe weather isolated on Anna Maria Island in Holmes Beach. Power was out for some, and was restored by Florida Power & Light after about a two-plus-hour wait. A transformer was blown, a street light was knocked down, and plenty of tree branches were observed "down" on roofs and in yards.

Cleanup for most folks was quick - like the storm.

Rain - about 1 inch in one hour in Holmes Beach - was a welcome aid to wash out the saltwater that kills grass, shrubs and some trees after minimal flooding from the high tides last weekend associated with Tropical Storm Barry.

Some residents in Anna Maria and visitors to the Anna Maria City Pier reported only a light rainfall.