Science and TechNatural Disasters


Sarasota County Working To Get Power And Water Restored For Residents

When hurricane Ian made landfall in Florida many Sarasota County residents weren't prepared. The county is now working to restore power and water.
Posted at 8:35 PM, Sep 30, 2022

Sarasota doesn't usually get much hurricane action. That's why some residents weren't as ready as they could have been. 

"The level of our preparedness going into the storm was pretty pretty much nonexistent. So that's a horrible thing to say," said resident Samantha Bott.  

Longtime Florida residents Samantha  and Blaine Bott say not to let this pretty backdrop fool you: Hurricane Ian made its mark. 

"I mean it was like watching a scene out of a movie. You're watching tree branches and shingles, you know different debris. We don't know if is it gonna come to the window or if that tree branch gonna fall on your house," said Samantha. 

Decades without a direct hit from a hurricane caught some residents off guard, and many ended up in shelters. 

"We were probably most concerned about making sure that we had like laundry and dishes done that we had enough food but other than that like actually getting prepared," said Samantha. 

The Botts were lucky. They didn't have any damage to their house, but they're one of 200,000 Sarasota County residents without access to basic resources like power. 

Florida Power and Light says it's working to get the lights back on, but its first priority is hospitals, police and fire departments.

Timothy Bryant is the Florida Power and Light community affairs director.  

"As we continue to work though we continue to beg for a little patience and grace as we assess where we are deploy the right resources at the right time to safely restore all of our customers in this hard hit area," said Bryant.  

Many families are also without water. The utility company says they're trying to get the sewer system working first.  

"Because of the impact in the southern portion of system, we can't even assess certain areas down there yet because of flooding and the debris. We can access certain areas, but we're still having a challenging route. But we're trying to get water back to everyone as quickly as we can," said Mike Mylett, the Sarasota County public utilities director. 

The Botts have family nearby — mom came to the rescue. They're staying with her, and they also have a new plan for the next big storm. 

"I think will probably do a little bit better due diligence to prepare. This one was a little too close for comfort," said Samantha. 

The city says they've found 200 locations with some level of damage. Teams spent part of Thursday and Friday cutting down trees and clearing roads.