Flooding caused by several days of heavy rainfall led to the evacuation of about 1,000 people, closed schools and forced police to patrol in garbage trucks Wednesday, authorities said.
About 1,000 people were evacuated from trailer parks and low-lying areas in eastern Manatee County, the Florida National Guard said.The rainfall was the heaviest since Hurricane Elena in 1985, but no injuries were reported. One community reported 13 inches of rainfall.
Manatee County supervisors and the Bradenton City Council met in emergency session Wednesday morning to seek ways to combat flooding along the Manatee and Little Manatee rivers.
Police in Palmetto, across the Manatee River from Bradenton, were forced to abandon their patrol cars and travel in garbage trucks.
Manatee High in Bradenton and several other schools were flooded, said county school Superintendent Gene Witt; the school board called off classes across the county.
"In the last 25 years I haven't seen anything of this magnitude, he said."