On Anna Maria Island, when you see an empty lot with new construction about to begin, you know the new building will tower over the traditional Old Florida one-story homes in the neighborhood. Why? It’s the law, to some degree, at least. In 1975 FEMA made it mandatory that all new construction place the first living level at a certain specified number of feet above sea level, which means either having to raise the lot with a huge amount of fill, or building the living space on a second and, possibly, third floor. This coincided with the start of government involvement in flood insurance programs. When the government starts ‘taking care’ of you, it starts telling you how to do things.
Anna Maria Island beaches felt the effects of Hurricane Ike this week with several days of high surf and high water.
Every day this past week brought a good swell and copious waves as Ike passed 300 miles away to the south west of Anna Maria Island.
The storm emerged off the coast of Cuba into the Gulf of Mexico with Tropical Storm strength winds and soon intensified into a Category 2-3 hurricane heading northwest.