And on the island, where Irma made its second landfall of the day - dumping heavy rains and bringing a storm surge ashore - a catfish was seen swimming down a street.
The friends tried to clear mud away from one of the animal's face and tried to fill the small area with water. Michael Sechler of Sarasota, Florida, saw these stranded creatures beached where formerly there was water and took action to save them.
Residents in the area came to the rescue, placing them on a large green tarp and pulling them more than 90 metres back into the water.
A line of evacuees wait for food at the Braden River High School emergency shelter
Nadia Gordon, marine mammal biologist with FWC, said the commission has received several reports of stranded manatees in the county, according to the Bradenton Herald.
A friend of Mr Sechler, Tony Faradini-Campos, said that he and the group spotted two "blobs" lying on the sand which would usually be submerged with water. "Unfortunately with manatees, they are accustomed to being tidally stranded at times".
He said, "We don't want anybody to risk their lives; they were trying to do the right thing but it's not worth it". He also asked that people stay in their homes until they're sure the storm has passed, and stay off the roads while officials work to clear threats.More news: Mourinho reacts to Lukaku's late miss against Stoke City
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