FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA. (WSVN) - Strong winds have picked up on Fort Lauderdale Beach and Hollywood Beach in anticipation of the recently downgraded Tropical Storm Isaias, despite some beachgoers out and about salvaging the day as best they can before the storm arrives.
Intermittent rounds of rain pushed through Fort Lauderdale Beach, Saturday afternoon.
The inclement weather caught some beachgoers and diners by surprise.
“I was eating — you know, after a few months, I wanted to eat some hamburgers — and at the end, I think it was the wrong timing,” said Badderdine Kerkeni. “I knew it was coming, but I thought it was a bit later, and I didn’t think that it can change very suddenly.”
7News cameras captured people running to dodge the rain off of A1A.
Area resident Chuck Hansen was taking a walk on the beach, but he was ready for the bad weather.
“I had to pull out this umbrella out of the mothballs. I can’t remember the last time I used it on a golf course,” he said.
The afternoon rainfall was a far cry from what people on Fort Lauderdale Beach saw through much of the day.
“It’s great, it’s beautiful. It’s the perfect running day,” said area resident Carol Aguirre.
“This is actually more fun when it’s raining, to run,” said Fort Lauderdale resident Ken Baszto.
The sun peeked out throughout the day, along with some gusty winds. Some bands also came ashore periodically with rain and even stronger winds.
But the bands only lasted a few minutes, and soon it was back to clear skies.
The largest gust of wind clocked in at between 25 and 27 miles per hour.
Some restaurants remained open along A1A, including Florio’s of Little Italy.
7News spoke to Elizabeth O’Neal, a waitress working at Florio’s, and when asked how long the restaurant will remain open for before Isaias makes landfall, she responded, “We’re trying to be as safe as possible, so right now, it’s not too bad, so we’re trying to see. If it gets too gusty and feels unsafe, then they’re gonna close.”
Victor Edery, who has lived in Hollywood Beach for eight years, said that the worst storm he ever rode out was Hurricane Irma in 2017.
“Irma was the worst. Category 5, it was all sandy. Everything, all the garbage cans were blowing everywhere, so it was a bit scary and no power,” he said.
Although people are supposed to stay out of the water because of choppy waves and rip currents brought on by the imminent storm, one woman said she took a refreshing swim.
“Yeah, it was really good! And the seaweed’s not too bad,” she said. “[The waves] were really big, but as long as you get your sunglasses, you’re OK.”
Hollywood Beach wasn’t too crowded but not deserted, either. Just after 4 p.m., cameras captured restaurant customers dining outdoors near the beach.
“I’m not afraid of this one. The bad storms are named after a woman and come at the end of the season,” said Edery.
As news spread of the storm weakening, Saturday evening, beachgoers returned to the sand. Some of them were even seen carrying music speakers.
“We’ve probably been here since around 11 o’clock, and it’s been fine,” said beachgoer Dominick Miret. “It only rained for, like, an hour.”
After the sun set, people were seen enjoying the night along A1A near Las Olas Boulevard.
“This is one heck of an experience,” said Sarah Riegel, who is visiting from Indiana. “It’s pretty windy down here. The waves are pretty amazing.”
However, the area cleared out when a rain band came ashore.
Area residents said they’ve ridden out far worse storms in the past, and they’re ready for what Isaias has to bring.
“I’ve lived here since ’86. This is is nothing,” said Baszto. “It’s going to blow right through — get a little wind, a little rain — and we’ll be fine tomorrow.”
Fort Lauderdale officials said the city’s bridges remain closed to marine traffic for the time being. Cemeteries, parks and Fort Lauderdale Beach will remain closed through Sunday.
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