When Larry Johnson and his wife moved to Bradenton three years ago, it was a dream come true to get waterfront property in Braden Castle Park. Most days, they have breakfast on their back deck while watching the sun rise over the Braden River.
But on Friday, the 68-year-old Johnson woke up hours before the sun would rise, although it would never make an appearance.
He, like others, worried what high tide would mean for the already rising water onto his property.
“I wanted waterfront not ‘watertop,’” Johnson said.
At high tide, the water, far surpassing the seawall, was one third of the way up the ramp to his back deck. The deck and home are raised four feet above the water level.
“It came up into carport yesterday afternoon and then even higher last night,” Johnson said.
The street in front of his home was completely underwater.
“It was knee-high when I walking down the street yesterday afternoon,” Johnson said.
From his driveway, he could no longer see the boat launch and the dock, normally about four feet above the water level, was now about one foot above the water.
Manatee County Emergency Management officials are still working to assess the overall damage caused by Hermine.
“Mobile home parks seemed to take the biggest beating,” Emergency Management Chief Don Hermey said Saturday.
Anna Maria Island also took a strong hit, with streets still flooded as of Saturday afternoon.
Hermey said residents need to report any structural damage to their homes to enable him to provide state and federal officials with the most accurate estimate of local damage.
In order for a disaster declaration to include Manatee County and get the Federal Emergency Management Agency to respond to the area, Hermey said he will have to be able to show impact with total damage estimates of about $1.3 million. Statewide, counties affected by Hermine are working to estimate the damages that will have to reach $25 million for it to be declared a disaster.
Hermey anticipates there are still some stragglers who have been unable yet to access damage to their homes, but they likely will do so this weekend.
Flooding wasn’t the only problem experienced by mobile home residents during Hermine. In Swan Lake Village, wind gusts damaged roofs of some mobile homes on Thursday.
Back in Braden Castle Park on Saturday, the flooding was receding, leaving a mess of vegetation debris behind. Johnson was out pressure cleaning the mess left on his driveway.
Johnson said that in the three years he has lived in Braden Castle since he and his wife moved from Minnesota, they had never seen flooding quite that bad. Sometimes the water behind his home will even recede out a good 25 feet, he said, exposing the river bank.
“That even makes this more impressive,” Johnson said.