KEY WEST (CBSMiami) – Isaac made a grand entrance into the Florida Keys Sunday morning and continued lashing the area into the afternoon and evening.
From Key West to Marathon, a big concern was flooding but a city maintenance worker in Key West told CBS4’s Carey Codd that despite a little standing water on some streets, the flooding was not severe.
At the popular tourist spot Mallory Square, a few people braved the wind and rain to watch Isaac and many didn’t think the storm packed much of a punch.
“It wasn’t bad at all. More hype than it was,” said Key West resident David Johnson.
Others in Key West were determined not to let the bad weather ruin a night out.
Most businesses boarded up but a few places stayed open, like Jack Flats, and it was a good business move because they made more money than usual on a Sunday night..
Alex Martin and his family didn’t know where they’d have dinner until they found this place.
“We drove around for a bit before we actually found a place to eat,” said Martin.
Some longtime residents thought other businesses were too hasty in shutting their doors.
“You have people pull the trigger too fast. Part of the trouble is there’s so much hype around every storm and people get caught up in it.”
Tropical Storm Isaac flooded a few streets and broke off a few tree branches but Monroe County leaders said they had no reports of any major problems.
The National Hurricane Center downgraded the hurricane warning to a Tropical Storm warning for the Florida Keys at 5:00 p.m. Sunday as the center of Isaac passed south of Key West with sustained winds about 6o mph.
Tropical storm-force winds are still possible through the night. Officials continue to recommend residents and visitors to stay indoors through Sunday evening, but if they must go outside, use extreme caution. Be mindful of debris including downed power lines that have not been reported to utility companies.
There is still potential for one to three feet of storm surge until Isaac is well past the Keys, according to Andrew Devanas, science and operations officer at the Key West National Weather Service.
Thus far, there are few reported significant impacts in the county, according to Monroe County Emergency Management Director Irene Toner, but cautioned she would not have full field damage reports until Monday.
Spokesperson for both Keys electric companies — Florida Keys Electric Cooperative and Keys Energy — reported sporadic outages, but indicated that crews were able to quickly respond and restore service to all of its customers.
Spokespersons in Key West, Marathon, Layton and Key Colony Beach indicated some branches and small signs down, but no significant impacts.
Monroe County Airports Director Peter Horton reports no major issues thus far at Key West International Airport. He expects restoration of commercial air service into Key West Tuesday morning. Horton said he was still waiting for assessments from Florida Keys Marathon Airport.
Four Florida Keys shelters will remain open until noon Monday.
These are numbers of current occupants in Florida Keys’ storm shelters:
Key West High School, 2100 Flagler Avenue, Key West – 89
Sugarloaf School, mile marker 19, on Sugarloaf Key – 12
Stanley Switlik School, MM 48, in Marathon – 14
Coral Shores High School, MM 90, in Islamorada – 2
“The only option we had was to come to the shelter,” said David Nicholson, who was staying in a shelter. “So we just grabbed all our food and what we could. I’m surprised that there are not more people. I don’t know what they’re doing, but a lot of people must be staying on their boats, which isn’t a great idea.
All county and municipal offices — including courts — are closed Monday. Monroe public schools are to be closed to students and teachers Monday and to students Tuesday.
County and municipal garbage pickups are canceled Monday, so residents are asked to not place refuse containers outside residences and businesses.