Hurricane Matthew brings beach erosion worries to South Florida beach residents

FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA. (WSVN) - The threat of Hurricane Matthew has brought on concerns for residents who live along South Florida beaches.

Those who live near Fort Lauderdale Beach have been preparing for the category 4 hurricane, but one big worry residents have expressed is beach erosion in their area.

The calm before the storm is upon residents Tuesday afternoon, and some people have even taken advantage of the nice day by going into the water, while others are watching from shore to see what the hurricane will do. “Just looking in that direction, it’s pretty scary out there,” said Andy Belch, a Fort Lauderdale beach resident.

“We’ve been really lucky in the past, and I think that it’s got a really good chance of hitting us, so I’m a little nervous,” said Ali Lewis who lives along the coast. “Surges, flooding, evacuating, having a plan for that.”

Lifeguards on Fort Lauderdale Beach are preparing for the worst. They will empty their lifeguard stands and board them up Wednesday. “Look at the waves, but keep them safe, keep them out of the rip currents,” said Fort Lauderdale Ocean Rescue Lt. Allen Reed. “Once the wind is over a certain miles per hour, we can’t be here, and no one can be here.”

In 2012, Hurricane Sandy washed sand all the way onto State Road A1A and the mess took a long time to clean up. “I know what happened with Sandy was a tropical storm when it skirted us,” Reed said. “And you saw what happened up at the north end with that. So if it is a 2, or a 3, or even a 4 when it passes by here, that could be a huge concern.”

For many parts of South Florida, beach erosion is already an issue. At Eden Roc on Miami Beach, crews have been working tirelessly for months to transport sand in via truck to restore the beach and Matthew could undo a lot of the work that is in place.

During a rough surf, Eden Beach shrinks and now residents are scared to see what a hurricane can do. If evacuations are set in place, the coastline will likely be first.

Condominium management has instructed residents to bring in the lawn furniture on the balconies inside. Both condos and hotels are also warning residents of a possible evacuation.

“When we’re actually gonna expect landfall and how that’s gonna effect work flow, especially on the beach with limited access to and from main shore,” said Brian Harte who works at a hotel. “We just want to make sure when it does hit, we’re ready.”

Condos that line the beach said they have emergency plans ready. “The hotel and the staff is doing a great job for proper precautions and procedures and explaining to the guests that they really have nothing to worry about as long as they follow those procedures in place,” Harte said.

Charter fishing marinas have become deserted after getting many cancellations. Boat owners could be seen moving their boats to floating docks and double checking their lines. “Just tie everything down,” said boat owner Capt. Chris Kline. “Make sure the boat is prepped for a 50 to 60 mile per hour wind and then hope everything works out.”

Many people who spoke with 7News said they will wait until Wednesday morning to see what Matthew does overnight before deciding to put up shutters.

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