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Water-Related News

Historic rainstorm poses first storm management test of the year to Sarasota

Tuesday’s historic rainstorm posed the first test of the year for the county’s stormwater management protocol — and county staff said the infrastructure was up to the task.

Flash flooding brought on by the heavy rainfall of the Invest 90L tropical system submerged local roadways and businesses in eight inches of water at its peak Tuesday, overwhelming the area due to its sudden intensity. But ongoing recovery efforts demonstrate that the county, per staff, is where it needs to be ahead of hurricane season.

Some of Sarasota County’s stormwater infrastructure involves open pipes through which runoff is funneled to the Gulf, but other drainage pathways are covered by gates and more susceptible to clogging. Though these drains were initially overwhelmed with debris, they cleared out when the rain tapered off around 9 p.m. Tuesday.

Sarasota County Public Works Director Spencer Anderson attributed the buildup to an almost year-long period between sizeable rain events. Landscaping and debris, he said, have sat stagnant for that time, and he hopes this first rain of the year has cleared some of that buildup for drainage systems for storms later this summer.