The sun is out, bringing the warmth back to Southwest Florida beaches just in time for a vintage new years celebration.
But how will the seemingly ever-present display of damage left behind by Hurricane Ian impact people and the festivities?
Everyone on Fort Myers Beach is excited, with some going into the water as they did before the storm.
Ken Simon, a seasonal resident of Fort Myers Beach, spoke with WINK News about the area making a comeback.
“I’m witnessing the rebirth of a beautiful beach and a beautiful city,” Simon said.
Anita Bixby, a Fort Myers Beach seasonal visitor, spoke with WINK News about the mental fortitude and toughness of people in the area.
“We were not going to let the storm stop us,” Bixby said.
They both agree Fort Myers Beach is coming back.
“You know, really is amazing what can happen when people come together,” Simon said.
“This is the most beautiful place on earth,” Bixby said.
They want to leave Ian in the past and focus on celebrating 2023 and the future.
“I was actually feeling cabin fever and even three or four days without the beach or the sun. I feel it makes a big difference. Like I said, how can you not smile when you’re down here? It’s really important,” Simon said.
After being away from the beach for so long, people didn’t let the near-freezing temperatures earlier in the week discourage them from visiting.
“We were on the beach Monday, and it was very cold. But we came back for today. And it’s beautiful,” Bixby said.
“We will survive; nothing’s permanent. And the universe has its plan,” Simon said.
While some people could be seen in the water at Fort Myers Beach, it’s not the best idea.
It’s impossible to know exactly what debris is in the water.
The New Years Eve festivities on Fort Myers Beach have been canceled.