Destin and much of Northwest Florida dodged a bullet as Tropical Storm Irma made its way up Florida's west coast.
The city of Destin had no reports of flooding caused by Tropical Storm Irma and there were very few power outages related to the storm.
“It seems like everything went pretty smoothly here,” said Doug Rainer, public information officer for the city of Destin. “It wasn’t much of an event although we did do a good bit of preparations.
“We made sure there was no loose debris, no loose items around any of our public property,” he added. “We checked the rights of way throughout town. Our staff also made sure all of our storm drains were clear and cleaned out just in case we had a lot of rain, which of course we have not.”
Between Sunday and Monday, just 30 Gulf Power customers in Destin lost power during Irma’s time in Northwest Florida, said Jeff Rogers, spokesman for Gulf Power. The average time to restore power to those customers was about two hours.
“That was due to the outer bands of the storm,” Rogers said. “Most of the outages were concentrated in Bay County, but of course some of those squalls came over your way.
“(The outages) were definitely minimal,” he added. “I think you’ll see across our whole service territory, all the investments we’ve made have really, really improved reliability, especially the storm hardening.”
Rogers said the region fared well during Tropical Storm Irma. Out of Gulf Power’s 460,000 customers throughout Northwest Florida, there were only about 7,500 outages.
Other than the courageous few who ventured out to walk a dog or take a jog, Destin and South Walton County were deserted early Monday. At Destin Harbor, one brave soul stepped out of a pickup truck and walked out to one of the hundreds of charter fishing boats moored there. Otherwise, the harbor was empty except for one seagull and two wind-blown great blue herons.
All of the floating restaurants and amusements that can at times give Crab Island an amusement park look were gone Monday morning. The threat of Irma had quelled, at least temporarily, the entrepreneurial spirit.
Although Destin and Northwest Florida made it through Tropical Storm Irma relatively unscathed, there are still two months to go until the end of hurricane season. Rainer said residents should remain vigilant and prepared.
“If we did have a storm that actually came through here and caused trouble, I think we’d be able to handle it as best as possible if everyone’s on the same page,” Rainer said.
Northwest Florida Daily News reporter Tom McLaughlin contributed to this story.