By Mike Cugno

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NAPLES (CBSMiami) – Powerful winds and heavy rains rocked Southwest Florida – a jarring experience for many locals who got to witness the eye of the storm.

“I said this is the last time. Next time we’re leaving. It was really scary. Towards the eye we were in the bathroom with the dogs and I’m wondering should we have left,” said Viviana Giarimoustas.

When the skies cleared Monday morning, emergency crews worked to clean up the mess. There are downed trees and huge branches right in the middle of the road that could be a hazard to drivers now that the storm is over.

On the beach, you could see the signs of storm surge – a familiar sight for a few in Collier County.

“It was pretty intense. Before the eye came around we were experiencing some pretty high winds but I’m from the Caribbean. I was actually born and raised in St. Maarten so I’ve been through this multiple times before,” said Tyler Boutelle. “It was bad but not too bad of damage. Just driving around and everything like that. We’ll be back up and running by Wednesday.”

The area is already getting back to normal with cars filling the streets.

However, close to 192,000 people in the county lost power. They don’t know when the lights will come back on.

“It was pretty crazy there. We lost power for quite some time. We still don’t have power. It’s definitely nicer out here than it is in my house right now,” said Stavros Giarimoustas.

But for the most part, everyone CBS4’s Mike Cugno spoke with feels like they dodged a really big bullet.

“I have my brother here and my husband is here so… we do feel very, very lucky. We survived,” said  Nancy Dinunzio.


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