Sep 112017

The storm has passed and is now, as of this posting, heading into Georgia and losing steam fast.  Irma went right up the west coast of Florida doing significant damage all along the way.  The entire state of Florida is going to be a long time cleaning up from this one.

As for the Keys there is not a whole lot of news yet.  The national news outlets prefer to stick large breasted weather bunnies in the big cities to get the ratings rather than report on a bunch of little islands, so what I will write about today has been gleaned from more reliable sources like gossip, rumor mongering, idle bar chat, and trolling forums…without the large breasted weather bunnies.  Here is what appears to be:

Overall the Keys took a pretty hard hit.  There is no power, cell service, and what little water is flowing is under a boil first order.  US 1 into the Keys is closed.  No one is allowed in yet.  There is debris over a lot of the highways, downed trees, power lines, and in some places the road itself is washed away.  As far as I have heard so far, all the bridges are intact but being inspected.

Key West itself got hit hard but not as hard as it could have been.  There was lots of flooding, downed trees, power poles, roofs blowing off, and other debris thrown about.  No word on injuries nor deaths.  The airport survived ok and will be used soon to fly in emergency supplies and services.

The middle Keys from Cudjoe where Irma made landfall to Marathon took the brunt of the storm.  Reports are sketchy but Big Pine Key may have suffered a lot of damage.  It’s mostly rural so lots of trees may have gone done.  Marathon had a lot of flooding.

Key Largo and Islamorada took some hard hits as a lot of the storm on the east side came in from the ocean.  The roads have a lot of debris on them and there was flooding.

As for the boating community, it was bad.  While it appears most of the marinas survived intact a lot of boats were lost or damaged.  Many vessels broke their lines and floated into seawalls, other boats, and in some cases wound up on the roadway.  The storm blew so much water out of the bays in some places it left boats sitting on mud flats.

The Coast Guard has sent out warnings to mariners to not sail into the Keys waters.  Debris was blown into the canals, waterways, and channels.  Buoys, markers, and other navigational aids were destroyed.  There is no telling what is sitting on the bottom now so sailing around is not a safe thing to do.  It will be months before they get it all straightened out again.

From the few pictures and videos I have seen, rv,s, trailers, and old manufactured homes did not fare well at all.  Many were overturned or just completely flattened.

It’s not all bad news.  It’s been reported the cats and the Hemingway house survived unscathed.  Somebody asked me about the Key West chickens, which I replied, “You mean the emergency rations?”.  Knew those noisy birds would come in handy someday.

Up in Tampa the storm sucked out the water in Tampa Bay so fast it stranded a couple of manatees in the mud.  A few passersby came by and got them safely back in the water.

As for human deaths and injuries, no word yet but I’m sure it is coming.  A storm like this don’t pass through without taking a few lives.  I have had no word from anybody I know who stayed behind.  Without power or communication it may take awhile.

For the moment, this is all I have.  If you are on Facebook or other social media, go join Key West Yard Sale or Key West Yard Sale Fl. and you can see some of the updates, images, and videos from the locals as they emerge from the mess.  As for the rest of Florida, Miami and the lower east coast took some pretty good hits.  Power is out all over south Florida.  The rest of the state seemed to fare pretty well.  Personally, all I care about are those little string of islands at the southern tip.  I’ll post more as I hear more.

Capt. Fritter