Five days after they were ordered out, Miami Beach residents were allowed to return their homes Tuesday to assess the damage done by Hurricane Irma.
By 7 a.m., three bumper-to-bumper lanes had formed on Interstate 195, waiting for cops to drop the road blocks and let them back in.
Among them were Lyle and Lydia Calhoun. The couple, originally from South Carolina, has a condo in the Biscayne Bay area and were eager to return home.
“We’ve been waiting for an hour,” Lydia told Fox News. “We’re tired, we’re dirty and we want to go home.”
The Calhouns, like so many other Miami Beach residents, had ridden out the storm elsewhere.
While Miami Beach was spared a direct hit from Irma, the monster storm still packed enough of a punch to do significant damage.
The entryways to the city had been blocked since Sunday to allow clean up crews to remove uprooted trees, downed power lines and debris strewn across the city. Ahead of the storm, an estimated 100,000 residents were ordered to leave.
On Tuesday morning, a handful of WalMarts, Walgreens and 7-Elevens had opened up shop. More were expected as the day continued.
“Miami Beach will be up and running soon,” said resident Scott Looker, who had taken his dog, “Diggie Smalls,” for a walk near the Port of Miami. “We’ve done it before and we’ll do it again.”
While it was back-to-business for some, schools in the area remained closed. There hasn’t been an update on when they’ll reopen.
Mayor Philip Levine said the city fared better than expected and there was little structural damage. Preparations prevented prolonged street flooding, he said. Still, two construction cranes collapsed Sunday amid fears others could follow suit.
Irma packed 100-mph winds, which caused several buildings downtown -- as well as the aforementioned construction cranes -- to sway dangerously.