It started with a whimper and ended with a whine. Tropical Storm Isaac, which many meteorologists thought would have a major impact on our area, has essentially passed us by without a hitch.
There was a lot of island preparation in the hours preceding the storm's landfall, but the majority of it included hurricane party plans. While some stores downtown did board up, and virtually nothing was open on Sunday or Monday, many businesses and residents didn't appear to be too worried about the impending high winds and rain that were announced on television.
The worst weather on the island occurred Sunday night after midnight and into Monday morning, with high winds and surf. By Monday morning the sun was peeking through the clouds and random bursts of rainshowers brought rainbows and cooler temperatures.
The local Emergency Operations Center, located in the Boca Grande Fire Department, was the scene of a brief meeting Sunday morning at 11 a.m. Chief C.W. Blosser summed up the feelings of many when he explained that while no drastic measures were being taken in light of Isaac's swing to the west, it was better to be safe than sorry.
"I always tell people that Charley is still going to hit Tampa, too," he said at the meeting. He was referring to the fact that at the last second on August 13, 2004 the Category 4 storm barreled through Charlotte Harbor, by way of Boca Grande Pass, instead of its predicted path to Tampa.
The Gasparilla Island Bridge Authority locked down the swing bridge Sunday evening after winds reached a sustained 40 m.p.h., and the bridge was unlocked Monday morning when the weather died down.
South Beach was experiencing more business than usual on Sunday, as many people were in search of food. They were closed Monday, though. Hudson's Grocery was closed, per usual, on Sunday, and again on Monday. The Pink Pony was open Sunday, but closed Monday, leaving many hungry. Gill's Grocery did stay open throughout the storm. All government buildings and schools in Lee and Charlotte County were closed as well.
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