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Storm watch: Pine Island reports little affect from Isaac

By Staff | Aug 27, 2012

Pine Island fared well, with only flooding in some areas, as Tropical Storm Isaac made its way through Sunday and Monday morning.

In preparation for the storm possibly affecting the island with wind and rain – or worse, making landfall – residents, property owners and business owners were encouraged to obtain a hurricane hangtag for their vehicle. The tags are used to make the re-entry of the island easier after an event takes place.

Pine Island Fire Department Deputy Chief Joe Marzella said on Saturday 497 tags were distributed and, on Sunday, they gave out another 200 tags.

“Don’t wait to the last minute,” he said. “Please don’t wait to the last minute again.”

Marzella said for someone to obtain the hangtag they have to have proof of residency a driver’s license with an island address or anything that has their name on it to show where they live if they are renting.

“They are good forever,” he said of the hangtag.

If they have to be renewed, Marzella said they would put a sticker on the hangtag.

He encourages individuals to plan ahead and address any concerns about evacuation before a storm potentially threatens the area.

Marzella said when winds 40 mph, all emergency vehicles are off the road.

Some businesses boarded up, taking extra precautionary steps as they listened to the meteorologists’ share where the cone of uncertainty could potentially impact along the west coast.

Ragged Ass Saloon General Manager Bob Cegann said they boarded up Sunday morning to protect the building, along with giving his staff the opportunity to evacuate if they so desired without worrying about reporting to work.

He said they made the decision to board up a couple days before Sunday due to the uncertainty of where the storm would make landfall. It only took a couple of hours to secure the building.

“Better being safe than sorry,” Cegann said. “In case something did happen I could have been out of business for a longer period of time in case the windows were broken.”

He said they did not have any damage to the building Monday.

Ragged Ass Saloon will open again Tuesday morning.

Pine Bay Gallery in Matlacha also took precautions ahead of the storm by putting boards on the windows. Bonnie Hodges, with Pine Bay Gallery said they did fine during Tropical Storm Isaac.

“Not even caps on the water,” she said Monday morning. “It’s pretty calm.”

Robert Wells, general manager of Tarpon Lodge, said they also decided to put shutters up Sunday once it seemed like the storm was going to get close and they could experience some tropical storm winds.

“We went ahead and put everything up,” he said. “We stopped serving at 4 p.m. Sunday.”

Wells said they took care of the preliminary stuff Saturday afternoon.

Because of the storm, some of the Tarpon Lodge’s guests checked out Sunday, along with four cancelations that same day.

“They checked out because they were concerned about the storm,” he said, adding that “we lost some Sunday night people.”

Wells said he was worried about the tide, but as of Monday afternoon, it didn’t get up as high as the storm a couple months again.

“We haven’t seen any flooding like we did with Debbie,” he said.

The lodge also held a fishing tournament this weekend, which Wells said did really well.

“Tournament was outstanding, fishing was great,” he said adding that the weather held off, which allowed them to ride around in their boats Saturday.

Sunday is when the wind took hold, Wells said.

Tuesday, the Tarpon Lodge will open up first thing in the morning and by lunch, Wells said it will look like a storm never came through.

“You can’t be too cautious,” he said. “I think everyone learned that in the previous storms, especially Charley.”

Other businesses around the island remained open Sunday and Monday.

Janette Healy, Four Winds Marina general manager said they did not close at all while Tropical Storm Isaac was hovering close to the west coast.

The marina began preparing for the storm Thursday and Friday by securing the marina and contacting their customers.

She said they pulled the customers’ boats from wet slip if they chose and moved them into dry storage, along with making sure the harbor and customers were safe.

“We came through it just fine,” she said of Tropical Storm Isaac. “We had a plan of action.”

As of Monday, Healy said they had no damage.

“We had some wind gusts last night (Sunday), luckily it didn’t affect us to much,” she said.

Four Winds Marina will remain open during normal business hours. Healy said the service department is opened for those that have storm damage in the surrounding area.

“It is a normal work day for us,” she said.

On the south end of the island, Scott Adams, owner of Low Key Tiki, said he kept the bar and restaurant open Sunday.

“Weathered it just fine,” he said of the storm.

Although they stayed open for business, Adams said they picked up all the loose stuff around the building, along with collecting the patio furniture as they monitored the storm to see if they needed to do anything further.

“It was business as usual,” he said. “Around 9 p.m., put the curtains down and got real cozy in the tiki. We had a full house all day.”

The only disadvantage that the storm caused for Adams was shut downs by vendors. He said the biggest inconvenience is it is hard to get product and he is starting to run out of items.

The canal that runs behind Low Key Tiki was pretty high Monday because of the high tide. Adams said although the water was up to the top of the sea wall caps early Monday, he expects it to go down.

Miceli’s Restaurant also remained open for business Sunday. Joe Miceli said they put the shutters up and tore everything down from the patio to prepare for the storm.

“We didn’t get anything over here,” he said, adding that they just received some rain and wind.

The restaurant remained open until about 9:30 p.m. Sunday night before they closed because islanders weren’t out and about.

Miceli’s Restaurant opened at 11 a.m. Tuesday.