FT LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) – Now that Hurricane Irma’s wind, rain, and storm surge have subsided, cities have gone into damage assessment and clean up mode so they can get back up and running again.
Ft. Lauderdale’s barrier island which has the city’s famous beach remains closed.
— Fort Lauderdale PD (@FLPD411) September 11, 2017
Irma’s storm surge and winds covered A1A and the sidewalks with sand, up to several feet in some places, making it almost impassable by vehicle. At some points you can’t tell where the beach ends and road or sidewalk begins.
Heavy equipment will be brought in to remove the sand. The beach will re-open when the road is clear.
One driver who tried to make it through ended up getting and abandoned the car in the middle of road.
The good news is that A1A, which underwent a structural strengthening after part of it collapsed due to Hurricane Sandy, weathered Irma’s crashing waves and doesn’t appear to have been damaged.
More good news – none of the businesses along the beach appeared to have suffered substantial flooding.
Irma did however cause significant flooding in the coastal communities and low lying areas. It also damaged the Deerfield Beach Fishing Pier which is now closed until further notice.
Elsewhere in Broward County, the Emergency Operations Center is compiling damage reports from various cities. They said the most damage appears to be in the northern part of the county, specifically Deerfield Beach and Pompano Beach. Pembroke Pines has reported moderate damage.
Mayor Barbara Sharief said the most common problems are downed power lines, tree debris and some roof damage.
Most areas of the county, however, are waiting for the light of day to do a full assessment so they can submit their report.
Sharief said power outages that one time affected nearly three quarter of the county is shrinking due to FPL’s efforts before and after the storm.
The power outages, besides being inconvenient, are also causing a traffic hazard – many street lights are not working.
In Hollywood, a home caught fire during Hurricane Irma due to a downed power line. In Coral Springs, a tree smashed a car. In Parkland, a large tree fell through a pool enclosure. And in Deerfield Beach, the pier was closed because of damage to the end of it.
But that didn’t keep people from flocking to the beach in Deerfield – especially after being cooped up inside for several days.
“Two days inside in the house, I say, ‘No, I go crazy. I need to go out!’” said Andrea Fontes.
Water is another issue. Several areas are under a boil water order including Hollywood, Hallandale Beach, Lauderdale, Dania Beach, parts of Davie, West Park, Pembroke Piens, and portions of east Miramar near SR 441 at Pembroke Road. If you’re not sure if your neighborhood is under a boil water order, call 3-1-1 to find out.
Another part of the wind down mode is the clearing of 21 emergency shelters.
Earl Jackson has been at the Arthur Ash Technical School since last Thursday. It was one of the county’s 21 shelters and it house approximately 1,400 people.
“It was a little bit packed but considering the amount of time they had to prepare, and the volume of people they were dealing with, they really did a superb job taking care of everybody. They made sure everybody had a place to lay their head and had something to eat,” he said.
Jackson said about two-thirds of those who showed up brought some supplies, the Red Cross took care of the rest.
“As far as blankets and so forth, they were able to provide three meals a day. The Salvation Army and a couple of other agencies managed to supply some blankets for some people. So on the whole, everybody was fairly well comfortable given the circumstances,” he said.
A lot of officials were worried about visitors going through their first hurricane.
There were thousands like Viola Afanasouki that have never experienced what can be a surreal eye opener.
CBS4’s Hank Tester asked her why she didn’t get out.
“Well, the deal is, we are from Michigan, and we’ve never been through a storm so we really didn’t know what to expect,” she said. “We thought it would be fine, you know. There’s gonna be wind. We have wind and stuff at home. We go through storms. But nothing like this.”
Afanasouki and her family were staying at a high-rise condo on the beach. They all agree, they’d never stay again.
The countywide curfew has been lifted. However, officials ask everyone to stay off the road if they can so trucks removing debris can have free travel.