TREASURE ISLAND, Fla. (WFLA) — While Hurricane Idalia made landfall nearly 200 miles north of Tampa Bay, the storm surge Wednesday still battered the beaches on the Pinellas County coast.
In the Treasure Island beach community, Caddy’s didn’t flood during the hurricane, but the storm made quite the mess the staff had to clean up in time for the Labor Day weekend.
“If you go a little bit further down our road, it’s blocked off still,” Caddy’s general manager Jessica Fords said, “a lot of destruction and damage to other parts of the beach and parking lots in that area have a lot of debris.”
Photos Ford shared with News Channel 8 show just how much sand got pushed inside the beachfront restaurant.
By Thursday morning, Ford said the clean-up began so the restaurant could be fully re-opened by the holiday weekend.
“At 8 a.m. had about 50 people here and we shoveled ourselves out for the next three days,” she said.
The staff had to use a chainsaw to chop up a large uprooted tree that has been added to the pile of debris next to the restaurant.
Ford said the normally busy holiday weekend got off to a slow start.
“There’s a lot of people that called that had to cancel reservations and our cabana reservations due to their accommodations getting canceled,” Ford said.
The end of the summer holiday weekend is critical for business in the Pinellas County beach communities.
“This is a huge weekend for any kind of concept like ours,” Ford said, “so we’re hoping that people will come out and still be able to enjoy their holiday weekend.”
Ford said she’s hoping Caddy’s has its largest crowds of the weekend tomorrow on Labor Day.