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Researchers on Sanibel were able to track Eta’s conditions in real time

One week after Eta hit Florida, people are getting back to normal after cleaning up from debris and flooding. Sanibel took the brunt of the storm with wind and storm surge.

WINK News Environmental Reporter Stephanie Bryne explains how researchers on Sanibel were able to track the conditions of Eta in real-time.

By the looks of Sanibel Causeway on Tuesday, you wouldn’t even believe how it looked last week when Eta was passing by.

“Just enjoying the warm sun. 85 degrees. It’s heaven, we’re in paradise,” said Thomas Vanasse of Fort Myers on Tuesday.

When it comes to hurricane season in 2020, Vanasse believes paying attention is the best idea. “With having as many as we had this year, we really had to pay attention,” he said.

He isn’t the only person paying attention to this year’s flurry of hurricanes. Thanks to sensors in the water, Eric Milbrandt with the Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation could see Eta’simpact. From tides about two feet higher than normal to sustained winds of 50 mph.

Milbrandt is the Laboratory Director for the Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Fund. “When we have tropical storm events such as Eta, we saw an increase in water depth associated with the storm surge that was predicted with the storm,” said Milbrandt.

Eta’s one-two punch featured winds and flooding. “We were surprised at the strength of that second pass as it moved northward along the coast, the high wind speeds and two-foot storm surge did cause quite a bit of flooding,” he said.

Now, that Hurricane Eta is behind us, people like Vanasse can get back to enjoying the Florida sunshine. “It’s beautiful to be out here today. It’s nice and the air is gorgeous, the sun is out, couldn’t ask for a better day,” said Thomas Vanasse.

Milbrandt told WINK News that while we did see storm surge and flooding as a result of Eta, he believes the biggest environmental impacts are from rainfall and Lake Okeechobee discharges.

Reporter:Stephanie Byrne
Writer:Drew Hill
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