Isaias: Storm watchers visit St. Lucie County beaches

ST. LUCIE COUNTY — Fort Pierce residents who are used to hurricanes had a different kind of preparation day for Tropical Storm Isaias.

Randy and Linda Thomas sat Sunday morning on one of the porch-like swings south of the Fort Pierce Inlet with their 7-year-old Jack Russell terrier.

“We thought we’d come see the waves for a little while,” said Randy Thomas.

It typically takes them three days to prepare their home west of town for a hurricane, but they didn’t put up shutters for Isaias. All they had to do was bring in their flowers and head to the beach.

“We don’t normally have the time,” Thomas said. “Today we have the time.”

More: Isaias?: Here’s how hurricanes and storms get their names

More: The Weather Channel reports from Vero Beach as Hurricane Isaias approaches Florida

People lined the windy South Jetty as couples walked their dogs, and families watched a pair of windsurfers perform acrobatic jumps over churning waves.

The parking lot was packed and some people stayed in their vehicles to take in the view.

The beaches on the north side of the inlet were a different story. No surfers were in sight as only a handful of people gathered at Pepper Park Beach.

Ed and Tammie Jarvis, along with their son Eddie, said they stopped by because they were getting stir-crazy at home.

“We just wanted to see the waves,” said Tammie Jarvis. “We were stuck in the house yesterday. We prepared all day, and we have a few hours this morning.”

They weren’t too worried about the storm, but they knew it wasn’t over yet.

The family still put up shutters on their home just in case.

“I would rather prepare and have to take the shutters down,” Jarvis said.

Beaches were open in St. Lucie County, but officials advised people not to go there, especially to swim, said county spokesman Erick Gill.

Lifeguards were pulled from their stands the previous day in anticipation of them helping with shelters, Gill said, but the shelters never opened due coronavirus concerns and because weather conditions weren’t as bad as they could’ve been.

Bridges to the barrier islands close if sustained wind speeds reach 45 mph, Gill said. However, that wasn’t expected Sunday, even though the area might get wind gusts of that speed.

“We advise everyone to still stay at home today if at all possible,” Gill said.