By noon, after the hurricane watch had been lifted for Miami-Dade, Mayor Carlos Gimenez was calling the county’s storm preparations a good exercise.
“We got prepared for the worst,’’ he said.
County crews will clean up on Monday, when non-essential employees have been given the day off, and it’s back to business on Tuesday, Gimenez said.
Bad weather was to blame for two fatalities on the roads Sunday morning, though no major emergencies were reported.
Three shelters throughout the county were open and had attracted 154 residents, most of them at Booker T. Washington and Robert Morgan high schools in south and central Dade. Also, the county had helped transport 292 residents to special needs centers around the county.
Miami leaders said they, too, are prepared for the worst.
“We believe we are going to experience lots of local flooding and strong winds,’’ Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado said.
Regalado said city crews have set up pumps in flood-prone areas, such as Brickell. Portable pumps also are being readied.
“We have been preparing for this for months,’’ Regalado said.
Homestead officials appeared to breathe a sigh of relief that Isaac had not caused greater harm, particularly to the city’s significant agricultural industry.
“It looks like we’re dodging a bullet,’’ County Agricultural Manager Charles LaPradd said.
Winter is the busiest season for Homestead’s farmers, but there are still avocados in the groves. Heavy rains can kill avocado trees, and gusty winds can knock the fruit to the ground.
But the storm appeared to cause more damage to small business owners than to farmers.
At about noon, power went out along on Washington Avenue in downtown Homestead, where small shops cater to Mexican, Guatemalan and Central American customers.
About 400 homes and businesses were affected by the outage, among them La Michoacana ice cream shop.
Miguel Chavez, manager of the shop, said he expected losses in the thousands of dollars. The shop has a 10-by-8-foot freezer, as well as display cases, filled with ice cream, including flavors not typically found in stores, such as chili pepper.
“Today is a day the hurricane threatens our business,’’ Chavez said after the power outage. “You can’t fight against nature.’’
LOTS OF WIND
In Key West, where 89 people had checked in to the Key West High School shelter by 9 a.m., there was plenty of wind but little rain.
At the city’s Garrison Bight Marina, Pat Collins planned to ride out the storm in the lime green Sea Dog, which was built in 1957 and is reputed to be the oldest houseboat in Key West.
“We stripped everything from the outside and doubled up our lines,’’ said her husband, Bill Collins.
Bill will not be on the houseboat during the storm. He is a landscaper for the city and has to be on call to remove downed trees. But Patricia will be joined by friends Sandy and Jeff Fletcher, and their daughter, Conner.
The Collins’ main concern for the storm is rising water levels, not necessarily wind.
“You always have to worry about the water,’’ Pat Collins said.
In the Upper Keys, most of the businesses along the Overseas Highway – the Keys’ main street – were shuttered Sunday morning.