Tracking the Tropics
Wind, rough surf from Sandy deter beachgoers
MIAMI BEACH, Fla. (WSVN) -- Wet, windy and rainy conditions felt from Hurricane Sandy are deterring beachgoers throughout South Florida.
Early Friday morning, a tropical storm watch remained in effect for the Keys and a tropical storm warning was still in effect for coastal Miami-Dade all the way north through Palm Beach County. The National Weather Service also issued a tropical storm warning off the South Florida East Coast from Ocean Reef north to Flagler Beach for boaters only.
Forecasters said heavy rain, rip currents and beach erosion are expected through Friday evening. Wind gusts could reach anywhere between 30 to 50 mph.
A few curious locals and tourists surfaced along Miami Beach to check out the effects of Hurricane Sandy, which is now passing over the Caribbean.
South Beach resident Pete Hannes took his dog to the beach for their usual morning exercise. "It's a little bit late in the season, so I think this came as a surprise for people, but what are you gonna do? Normally, he'll be out there," he said pointing to the rough waves, "but today we just played on the coast."
The windy conditions and big waves are great for some. "It's great for the surfers and not so great for the tourists," Hannes said.
A couple from New York, who just got off of a cruise from the Caribbean, said they do not mind the wind and rain, so they took a stroll along the beach. "Jamaica was diverted, and we ended up going to Key West and to Mexico, so we didn't go to either port that we were supposed to," Jessica said. "The past couple nights were rough, but, you know what? It was beautiful. Nice warm water, so wind and a little rain wasn't gonna kill it."
City crews and beach patrol are preparing for the rain and rough surf. Road blocks are already in place in anticipation of flooding off Miami Beach. Beach patrol personnel are warning people to stay out of the water.
On Wednesday, already wind had deterred many from getting near the water in Fort Lauderdale. Tourist Jason Russo said, "Sand is blowing in my face, and it hurts. It's stinging."
The beach at John U. Lloyd State Park closed that day, as well. Officials said the conditions will be too extreme for swimmers over the next few days.
Surfers said the intense waves is what they wait for when a storm like this appears. "I love it. Better then what we usually get in Miami, which is hardly anything," said Danny Comesanas.
However, officials are advising people to stay out of the water. Conditions will continue to deteriorate through the end of the week. "We're going to have wind flags up," Fort Lauderdale Ocean Rescue Chief Breck Ballou said. "It's going to be storm surge on A1A. It's going to be a long couple of days here on the beach."
Those in high-rises are being warned to bring in any outdoor furniture, which may become airborne in the high winds.
The Fort Lauderdale Boat Show is scheduled to go on as anticipated. However the schedule has been juggled considering the rough winds. Fireworks and a flyover scheduled for opening day Thursday has been moved to Sunday.
In West Broward, north of State Road 84, the South Florida Management District opened the floodgates Wednesday in anticipation of possible high water as a result of expected rainfall from the effects of Hurricane Sandy.
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