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A cyclist walks a dog near the Indialantic boardwalk, in the aftermath of hurricane Dorian, on Wednesday, September 4, 2019.
A cyclist walks a dog near the Indialantic boardwalk, in the aftermath of hurricane Dorian, on Wednesday, September 4, 2019. (Ricardo Ramirez Buxeda / Orlando Sentinel)

Hurricane Dorian blew past Central Florida on Wednesday with no serious damage or flooding after decimating the Bahamas.

Bands from Dorian lapped the east coast of Florida, with Playalinda Beach in Brevard County recording the region’s highest wind gust of 81 mph at 3:40 a.m. on Wednesday, according to the National Weather Service in Melbourne.

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“It was very similar to [Hurricane] Matthew in that it stayed far enough off shore that ... even the coastal areas escaped pretty well,” said Tony Cristaldi, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Melbourne.

The most significant damage in Central Florida will likely be coastal erosion and flooding near the beaches, the scope of which will become more apparent in the coming days after ocean conditions quell, Cristaldi said.

Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings reported three hurricane-related deaths: A 55-year-old Ocoee man died after falling 15 feet from a tree while trying to cut branches with a chainsaw. A 62-year-old man died apparently from a heart attack at his home on North Apopka Vineland Road. Another man died after evacuating to a Disney resort with his family from a nearby city, officials said. All three deaths occurred Monday.

As Dorian headed up the east coast, Central Florida started to get back to normal: Public schools said classes would resume on Thursday, except Volusia, which will open schools on Friday; Orlando International Airport had its first flight land around noon after closing early Tuesday; and tolls -- which were suspended Sunday -- will start being collected again on state roads, including the 408, 417, the Beachline and 429, starting at 12:01 a.m. on Friday.

In Brevard, surfers took to the waves, with powerful winds from the west making it difficult to nose over the top of a wave and catch a ride.

“It blows you around like a paper plate,” said a man at the Indiatlantic boardwalk who would identify himself only as “Big Kahuna.”

Brevard County

Brevard County’s emergency management reported no flooding or significant damage in cities and unincorporated areas.

All causeways throughout Brevard County were opened early Wednesday, but the Brevard County sheriff urged motorists to use caution because there are still significant winds.

“We were truly blessed to dodge a bullet with this storm,” Sheriff Wayne Ivey said in an update on Facebook.

The strongest wind gust reported in Brevard was 81 mph at Playalinda beach at 3:40 a.m.

Eric Kroungold, 35, owner of Café Surfinista at the Indiatlantic boardwalk on 5th Avenue, on Wednesday morning was removing plywood over his windows. The only damage he had was a tear in the fabric of a sun-weathered awning.

He lost significant business from Labor Day weekend, which he shrugged at. “I still have a building here,” Kroungold said.

Lake County

In Astor, a tiny community at the northern tip of Lake County, residents are being warned to be ready to leave as water from Hurricane Dorian makes its way into the river that runs north to Jacksonville, where it spills into the Atlantic Ocean.

Two years ago, Astor experienced weeks of flooding and power outages after the river was deluged by Hurricane Irma.

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“This is nothing at all like we saw from Irma,” Lake County sheriff’s Lt. John Herrell said.

Still, he reminded residents, a person can be swept away by 6 inches of water and a vehicle by two feet.

The Sheriff’s Office was setting up a command post a the Butler Street boat ramp as a base for extra 24-hour patrols of the area and vehicles from the agriculture and marine unit.

The heaviest rains inland in Central Florida occurred in Lake County, where squalls dumped between 2 and 3 inches.

Osceola County

In Kissimmee, the Good Samaritan Society retirement village escaped flooding as Hurricane Dorian moved through the region.

Osceola County on Sunday called for an emergency evacuation of the low-lying retirement community that flooded after Hurricane Irma two years ago. Back then, residents had to be evacuated by boats.

Nearly 250 residents of the facility began returning to their homes Wednesday. The residents — 40 of whom required special-needs care and were transported by a fleet of 20 ambulances — spent at least two days at a sister facility, the Good Samaritan – Florida Lutheran in DeLand.

“We were evacuating all weekend and on Monday,” Good Samaritan spokesman Aaron Woods said Wednesday. “We had 237 of our skilled nursing and assisted living residents from Kissimmee [evacuated]. We also had about 30 of our senior living independent residents go to the Kissimmee/Osceola County shelter at the St. Cloud Community Center.

Woods said there were also other independent senior residents who “self-evacuated” either to nearby hotels or to homes of family members. He said return of the 237 evacuees, via ambulances and buses, is expected to be completed by Thursday afternoon.

Orange County

The working-class neighborhood of Orlo Vista was spared the flooding that occurred two years ago after Hurricane Irma, which dumped nearly 10 inches of rain.

That deluge had caused a massive flow of storm water to gush through the streets and flood hundreds of homes in the community just west of Orlando, forcing more than 200 people to evacuate.

A wind gust of 36 mph at Lake Nona Middle School was the top number in Orange as the storm stayed well offshore.

Orange County received about 1 to 2 inches in some spots and almost none in some central and eastern parts of the county.

Seminole County

Seminole officials said there were no reports of flooding although areas along the St. Johns River and Lake Harney in east Seminole tend to flood days after a big storm event.

County officials are keeping a close eye in those spots. Seminole also will be distributing free sandbags at Fort Lane Park, 2400 Fort Lane Road, in Geneva, on Friday to prepare residents for any future flooding near the St. Johns River. Seminole has also established a “no-wake zone” for boaters on the St. Johns River.

Volusia County

Officials confirmed Wednesday that Dorian caused no major damage in Volusia and left no serious debris on the roadways nor widespread power outages.

“To say we dodged a bullet for the storm would be an understatement,” said county manager George Recktenwald. “We dodged a missile.”

Sheriff Michael Chitwood urged warned residents about scammers pretending to work for roofing, electric and tree trimming companies who could take advantage of people, especially senior citizens. Already two elderly people had been robbed of “tens of thousands of dollars,” he said.

“The scammers are going to be out there,” Chitwood said.

Martin Comas, Chris Hays, Stephen Hudak, Gabrielle Russon and Kevin Spear contributed to this report.

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