From St. Pete Beach’s Pass-a-Grille northward to Clearwater Beach and beyond to Tarpon Springs, Hurricane Irma proved to be nothing more than a wind and rain event with blowing sand. The biggest challenge proved to be lack of electricity. For instance on Clearwater Beach, some had power throughout and only lost power afterwards. The south part of the island with the new, taller hotels was some of the last areas to be restored.
On September 14th, the city of Clearwater reported lifeguard patrols were being reinstated. Pier 60 which juts out into the Gulf of Mexico was closed due to minor damage but has since re-opened. Pinellas County advised all county parks which would have included those that front the gulf, Fort DeSoto County Park south of Tierra Verde, Sand Key County Park south of Clearwater Beach and Fred Howard County Park at Tarpon Springs would re-open on Sept. 16th.
Since Irma, visitors remark that you can’t even tell she passed through. Members of the hospitality industry collectively breathed a sigh of relief and said, “We really were lucky.”