Tag Archives: Anna Maria Island

Hurricane Hermine Hits Holmes Beach Hard

Ficus blown over by wind gust. Culverts did not drain.

A Ficus tree blown over by a wind gust. Culverts did not drain.

On August 18th, a weather disturbance in the Atlantic Ocean formed into an area of tropical interest and labelled “Invest 99L” by meteorologists. For ten days it crept across the ocean and meandered in the eastern Caribbean. By Monday August 29th, Tropical Depression 9 hatched, and unconstrained by prior nearby steering winds headed into the Gulf of Mexico to become Tropical Storm Hermine on Wednesday.

Hurricane Hermine path

2016 TD9 in Florida Straights becomes Tropical Storm Hermine, then Hurricane Hermine at landfall.

West Florida went on high alert. Storms this close sometimes run up the coast like Tropical Storm Debby (2012), sometimes change direction suddenly or quickly intensify like Hurricane Charley (2004). In any case Hermine looked like it would be a rain-maker like Tropical Storm Colin earlier this year.

Blocked drain and overwhelmed percolation pits.

Blocked drain and overwhelmed percolation pits.

Anna Maria Island residents experience nature’s best and worst conditions. Summer storms can be brief and invigorating or inconvenient and terrifying. Hermine kept offshore but the effects stayed around for 3 days, tossing 9″ of rain, 45mph wind bursts, frequent lightning and massive thunder booms from waves of storm-bred feeder bands.

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Combined with 2½ feet of surge on top of 2½ foot high tides, torrential and long-lasting rainfall overwhelmed the newly installed “percolation” pit drainage, causing what many people described as the worst flooding they have ever seen on the island. Schools closed Thursday, roads became impassable, and sewers backed up. Power stayed on apart from a short outage when a falling tree brought down some lines.

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Top 10 US Islands

Anna Maria Island beach

Anna Maria Island beach

Anna Maria Island has been rated fourth by Trip Advisors Travelers’ Choice Islands awards 2012, for US islands.

Only 4th? Well the survey is based on a year of travelers’ feedback on quantity and quality of island attractions, hotels, and restaurants, so it does come with some objectivity but I wonder if a few days’ visit is enough to get anything more than a superficial impression.

The U.S. list:

  1. San Juan Island, Washington
  2. Kauai, Hawaii
  3. Marco Island, Florida
  4. Anna Maria Island, Florida
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Cortez Florida 2012 Commercial Fishing Festival

The 30th annual Cortez Commercial Fishing Festival will be held Saturday February 18 and Sunday February 19 10am to 6pm.

On display are demonstrations, museum and historical records of Florida’s oldest working fishing village. Seafood, arts and crafts and live music will also be part of the increasingly popular festival that is held every year.

Admission is $3 for adults and free for kids under 12. All proceeds are to the benefit of the F.I.S.H Preserve, the non-profit Florida Institute for Saltwater Heritage.

To get to the festival head for 4600 124th Street West, Cortez, Florida 32415, but because of the popularity and small streets of Cortez Village, free parking is available east of the village off Cortez Road. Go early or late to get a parking spot. Anna Maria Islanders can take the free trolley from Coquina Beach to the parking site. More remote parking is available at G.T. Bray Park at 5502 33rd Ave W, Bradenton where a shuttle service connects to the festival for $2 round-trip.
2012 Cortez Fishing Festival

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Cortez Commercial Fishing Festival

Anna Maria Island is enriched by the wide range of very different communities that surround it. Perhaps the most colorful and unusual of these is the working fishing village of Cortez, immediately across the bridge from Bradenton Beach, on the southwest side of Bradenton. Cortez is full of extremely picturesque cottages where real life still goes on. In many parts of the country, these kinds of communities have become sterile tourist attractions, and no longer authentic, but Cortez still works hard to maintain its traditions and meaningful activities, and the residents still work in the local fishing industry.

For these reasons, Cortez is always a wonderful place to visit, and to celebrate. Cortez working fishing villageBut the Cortez Commercial Fishing Festival is a time when the festivities are in full swing. This year, the Twenty Ninth Annual Cortez Commercial Fishing Festival takes place on February 19 and 20.

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