Hurricane Matthew quietly blew past Miami’s Dade County, amidst resident panic, statewide emergency warnings, city lockdown and hurricane preparedness efforts encouraged by Governor Rick Scott. The city has not encountered a hurricane in over 10 years.
While the hurricane devastated parts of Island nations such as Haiti and Cuba killing hundreds in its path, Miami was spared and only experience heavy rain and wind throughout Thursday. As the storm makes its way to Northeast Florida, Miami’s routine slowly got back to normal this past Friday. Even though the city was prepared for a direct hit, as reported by government officials and news casters, Matthew’s presence wasn’t strongly felt by many residents in the city.
”It was a raining day, no more than that”, said Ron Byrd, resident of Miami. Many residents felt that summer rains of the year were more severe than the outer bands of the hurricane that Miami experienced but were thankful they could resume to their normal lives after a night of uncertainty. However, Gov. Rick Scott warned the population not to drop its guard, as 1.5 million Floridians still remain in evacuation zones. "This is still a 120 mph storm. While the eye has not made direct landfall, it still has time to make a direct hit,'' Scott said in his first briefing Friday.
Palm Beach, one of the first counties in Florida to be evacuated, is the home (or second-home), to more than 25 billionaires. A number of them have estates valued at over nine figures. The list includes investor Jeff Greene, William Koch, private equity chief Stephen Schwarzman, New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft, real estate mogul Stephen Ross, and the brokerage magnate Thomas Peterffy. Many real estate specialists say that the biggest mansions in Palm Beach, as well as many luxurious condos and houses in Miami, are built to resist major storms.
Hurricanes don’t usually damage national or local economies, since much of the losses in the area are later counterpoised. As we observe the damages in the North, it is safe to say that most damaged homes; businesses and infrastructure are repaired or rebuilt, generating economic activity. And at the very least some of the disruptions to retail and other businesses are made up in the following weeks and months as consumers release pent-up demand.
On Tuesday, Matthew hammered Haiti, killing over 800 — a number which is expected to rise in the coming days as authorities reach areas cut off when Matthew washed out roads and collapsed bridges. After crossing the Bahamas Wednesday and Thursday, the storm began churning up waves and winds in South Florida Thursday afternoon, but otherwise left the bottom of the South Florida region largely untouched.