South Florida cleans up after Sandy
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (WHDH) -- Hurricane Sandy sent waves of water and sand into the streets of Fort Lauderdale overnight Thursday. Now the cleanup has begun.
Hurricane Sandy's power and strength made the beach a surfer's paradise. Despite the danger, they are determined to enjoy the waves for as long as they can.
Sandy is not only on a forecast path toward the northeast. It's also expected to run into two other powerful weather systems, creating a perfect storm in the Northeastern portion of the US by Halloween. At 5 p.m., the National Weather Service placed the hurricane's center at 27.3 degrees north and 77.1 west, or about 30 miles north-northeast of Great Abaco Island. It has maximum sustained winds of 75 miles per hour, moving north at seven miles per hour.
Though South Florida escaped the full potential of the deadly storm's wrath, which left 40 people dead across the Caribbean, the region did not escape unscathed.
Crews arrived near the beach of Fort Lauderdale, early Friday morning, to shovel sand off A1A, after waves overpowered seawalls. Louise Orchard was driving through the area and needed to find an alternate route due to the pile-up of sand and seawater on the street. "I was looking, and now the water is disappearing, and now I can go," she said. "It's OK, I think, but this way I don't know, so I'll see. I'll try."
Thaddeus Hamilton of the Broward Soil and Conservation District was out to comment that this could have been prevented. "The solution to this problem," he said pointing to the street full of sand and water, "is right here." He then turned toward the beach. "We put in over a mile of coastal sand dunes on Fort Lauderdale beaches. There's very little clean-up. It speaks for itself."
Traffic lights were also knocked out on major roads in Fort Lauderdale. That included heavily traveled Sunrise Boulevard and Federal Highway, and they are expected to stay out for most of the day. Fort Lauderdale Police detective Deanna Garcia advised, "We're asking drivers to use caution, drive safely. There are a lot of people out here."
Traffic lights were also out on State Road 84 at Southwest Fourth Avenue and Andrews Avenue. Police urge drivers to treat these intersections as four-way stops.
Power crews are working in those areas to restore the lights. Florida Power and Light is also out in force to restore power in many residential areas. As many as 1500 workers are on the streets to restore power across South Florida.
FPL crews cleared collapsed branches and shrubbery to reach damaged power poles at a home in Miami Beach. In Fort Lauderdale, one of those poles, weakened by Sandy's winds, tilted dangerously close to a business.
Thousands of power trucks and tree trimmers lined up early in the morning, geared up to go. FPL Spokesman Erik Hofmeyer said, "We expect the power to be completed by the end of the day. Our extra crews coming in from the west have been a big help. Our crews worked overnight, and we're going to keep working until the power is back on for all our customers."