What a difference a day makes.
By the time the sun rose Saturday, for the first time since the winds and rain from Hurricane Sandy pounded South Florida, the clean-up was already under way.
The storm left beach towns with roads under water, sand spread across A1A in Fort Lauderdale and thousands of people without power. Tree branches and poles dangled precariously over homes and vehicles, and but for the most part, the state dodged the worst of it.
Bulldozers were already lined up on Hollywood Beach and Fort Lauderdale Beach, where waves overpowered seawalls and spilled onto the streets and the Hollywood Broadwalk. Curious tourists ventured out to snap photographs and gawk at Mother Nature’s wrath.
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In Hollywood, neighborhoods just east of A1A were partially underwater as the tide rose and trickled through storm drains into North and South Lake. Small backhoes were scooping up sand on the city’s Broadwalk.
City Manager Kathy Swanson-Rivenbark√ said crews have been working since the storm’s surge began Thursday. The biggest problem was flooding during the high tide, she said. The city’s storm drains can only handle so much water.
“We do not have control over that ocean,” she said.
Hollywood Public Works Director Sylvia Glazer said Sandy caused more beach erosion than Tropical Storm Isaac did two months ago. Crews were removing downed trees and palm fronds that fell during the storm, she said.
In Fort Lauderdale, the boat show opened Saturday without a hitch, even though A1A from Bayshore Drive to Northeast 20th Street remained closed due to flooding.
Florida Power & Light reported nearly 9,000 residents without power in South Florida, but the company had more than 1,000 crews restoring electricity by midday.