MIAMI BEACH, FLA. (WSVN) - South Florida was spared the worst of Hurricane Matthew and now clean-up efforts have begun for residents and business owners.
It’s business as usual along Lincoln Road in Miami Beach, bringing residents and tourists outside to enjoy the Sunshine State once again.
From Miami Beach to Fort Lauderdale, home and store owners took down their shutters, Friday. Some business owners are working hard to get their stores ready for the weekend, bringing out their tables and chairs.
“We put all the chairs away, all our umbrellas,” said Starlite Hotel employee Patty Terlecki on her hurricane preparation. “Everything from the restaurant, we boarded up.”
City and County crews cleaned up beaches and debris left on the streets. Some residents took care of downed trees. Power outages were among some of the biggest problems for residents.
Others are resuming normal activity, as if Hurricane Matthew never happened. “Which storm?” asked one beachgoer. “There was no storm!”
“I mean, it wasn’t as bad as I thought it was gonna be,” said Jay Higgs, a New York visitor.
“I went through Hurricane Sandy, and this was nothing compared to that,” said Adrain Gonzales, another New York visitor.
In Sunny Isles, many businesses also worked hard in taking their boards down. On Hollywood Beach, lifeguard stands are being brought back to their original spots.
At Bonny and Read’s Toucan Hideout, John Frank wasn’t willing to take any chances with the hurricane. “You never know. If we didn’t put the plywood up, you know, this sucker would’ve come in.”
Frank said the restaurant was one of the few left open on the Hollywood Beach Broadwalk, Thursday. “We had a very good day,” he said.
However, Hurricane Matthew didn’t spare damage for everyone – just ask Steve Balinski in Fort Lauderdale. “It’s a lot of work,” he said. “It’s a lot of physical work. My muscles are sore this morning from two days! We have 42 stores I take care of.”
For Miami Shores, the damage was seen in the form of downed trees and power outages.
Some neighbors helped others clean up fallen branches. “We’re here to help out one another, to get this done,” said Timothy Stout. “That’s what neighbors are for.”
It seems Miami Beach, however, faired better. “Thank God, we did OK,” said Miami Beach resident Gary Bomzer. “So far a lot of clouds, but it gives us a chance to clean up, to open up the shutters and move forward.”
Fort Lauderdale residents could also be seen taking off their hurricane shutters. “We missed the worse of it, and now we’re trying to get back to normal,” said resident Alastair Harborne.
Mother Nature may have spared South Florida, but Frank worries about Hurricane Matthew’s next stop. “Thanks, it’s great, but I feel bad for the people up north. They’re getting slammed,” he said.
Even though there is a lot of work to do after the brush with Matthew, no one is complaining. “It’s better to be safe than sorry,” said Miami Beach resident Renee Bomzer. “We got really lucky, and unfortunately the people further north from us didn’t. Then we should pray for them.”
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