Airport Closed; Hotels Possible Re-Opening Dates
Key West took a big hit from Hurricane Irma as heavy winds and rain pelted the Conch Republic.
The hurricane made landfall at Cudjoe Key, about halfway between Key West and Marathon. It was a Category 4 storm with sustained winds of 130 mph. Here are the latest updates from Key West regarding its recovery.
Key West & Florida Keys Hurricane Irma Updates
The Florida Keys checkpoint, which permitted only residents and business owners to enter the Keys, ends on Tuesday. Officials are meeting Monday to determine when tourists will be allowed to drive in Key West and all of the Keys.
Cruise ships have been cleared to return to Key West and first arrived on Sunday. “The people need to go back to work, and this is a huge part of our recovery,” Major Craig Cates said.
Dry Tortugas National Park is re-opening on Monday.
Sloppy Joe’s, which received no major damage, is back open. It’s serving drinks but no food.
The Schooner Wharf Bar is also open, plus Tree Bar with Hog’s Breath due to open on Thursday. PubClub.com is proving a rundown of bars, restaurants and other businesses on this link.
Key West International airport is now open to general aviation. American Airlines, Delta and Silver Airways have resumed commercial service.
That being said, officials are still asking people to with immediate plans to visit Key West to cancel those plans. Fantasy Fest and the Meeting of the Minds events scheduled for late October and early November are still on as scheduled, as is the powerboat Poker Run in early November.
A curfew remains in effect in Key West from midnight to sunrise.
Several Key West hotels are now open or will reopen by the first of October.
Jimmy Buffett has announced plans for a benefit concert in Florida for sometime in the future for Hurricane Irma victims.
Monroe County says reports of 10,000 people having being evacuated from the Keys are not true.
All bridges in the Keys have been inspected and have been declared safe for traffic.
This is also from Monroe County:
“The Keys are not open for business. There are many resources staged and ready to move into the Florida Keys to help as soon as possible.
“The wind may have stopped blowing but for most of the Florida Keys there is no fuel, electricity, running water or cell service. For many people, supplies are running low and anxiety is running high.
“HELP IS ON THE WAY.”
FEMA Update (Sunday afternoon)
The Key West airport is reportedly in good shape; however, it still has standing water on the taxi way and apron. Reports indicate the Marathon airport has debris on the runway and a substantial amount of water; efforts to clear it are underway.
• Law enforcement is taking control of the top of the 18-Mile Stretch to restrict entry of non-authorized personnel into the Florida Keys.
• Three points of the Overseas Highway have been identified as “choke points.” Sea Oats Beach at MM 75 has had one lane erode and the other is covered in debris. The southbound lane is reportedly “buckled.” At MM 34 there is reportedly a large metal pole across Overseas Highway. At MM 29 there is a reported partial “wash down” of the road. The state Department of Transportation has said they will engage a rapid response contractor.
Marathon City Councilman Steven Cook reported on social media about progress from the EOC on Ocean Reef south: “We are moving at a snail’s pace. But we are moving toward Marathon … Marathon took a massive blow. Do not attempt to come back … We love you guys. Please be patient.” No other official reports are available at this time.
• Key West City Manager Jim Scholl said current reports indicate Key West fared well. He said debris clean up would be the biggest challenge and that flooding was “less than [Hurricane] Wilma.
• AT&T has reported that it believes its equipment issues are centered at the station at MM20.
All 55 cats at the Hemingway house are reported safe, as are all 10 occupants. The house also escaped any major flooding.
This Twitter post from District 3 Commissioner Heather Carruthers provides a good post-hurricane update:
— Candy (@candycane1D) September 10, 2017
This Twitter post shows the situation in the immediate hours after Irma passed through Key West:
— Karen Tennents girl (@karen_flynn) September 10, 2017
The National Hurricane Center issued an advisory at 11 a.m., warning that “live-threatening wind and storm surge from Irma will continue in the Florida Keys and southwestern Florida today and spread into central and northwestern Florida tonite and Monday.
Relief, tho, is coming quickly to the Keys and Key West. By late afternoon, C130 planes were being loaded with relief supplies.
“The help is on its way,”Monroe County Emergency Management Director Martin Senterfitt said during a conference call Sunday afternoon. “We’re going to get more aid than we’ve ever seen in our lives,”
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