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Cocoa Beach--a popular location for Labor Day--is bare as city preps for Hurricane Dorian

Posted at 3:04 PM, Sep 01, 2019

Cocoa Beach is usually packed on Labor Day weekend.

“Oh, it’s umbrella city; just an absolute zoo,” says resident Tom Burns. “That’s why we don’t come here on Labor Day.”

However, that’s not the scene this year.

There isn’t much for Burns and his wife, Melissa, to do but prepare and wait to see how Hurricane Dorian will impact them.

“You just get prepared and hope for the best," he says. "It's like a drop on a roller coaster; you know the drop is coming and you go with it.”

The Burns pretty much had the water to themselves Sunday, while much of the beach town is boarded up. Many of those who haven't left are making sure Cocoa Beach is ready.

“We’re going to expect some damage, but if we’re going to try to mitigate [and] control some of the damage," says resident Cindy Gentile.

Gentile is helping board up a friend’s house that’s located just blocks from the beach.

“This is a sitting duck right here,” she says. “It’s a bullseye right here."

Gentile isn't leaving for the storm.

“Obviously preparing for the worst and hoping for the best," she says.

It's the kind of preparation Floridians like Sharon Smith have done before.

"Our house is fully hurricane proof, and it did about 120 (mph) a couple of years ago," she explains.

Speaking of houses, Tom and Melissa Burns closed on their new home in Cocoa Beach just three days ago.

“Buying a house is stressful enough, but once we got done with that, they forecasted it and now it was like a whole new chapter of stress," Tom Burns says.

They, too, have been played the hurricane waiting game before.

“Just hunker down and enjoy our new house and hope it’s still there after the storm," he says.

At this point, with boards and shutters up, and much of this area shut down, that’s all residents say they can do until Hurricane Dorian has passed.