Irma's fury in the Keys: High winds, waves, then devastation

Related Press

SUMMERLAND KEY, Fla. (AP) – Big waves crashed down on this tropical paradise, pounding the white sands of Summerland Key with brute fury. Then got here bomb-blast winds as Hurricane Irma slammed ashore.

For survivors John Hartman and Mae Skiver, the worst was but to return as they sheltered in a good friend’s home, completely on the mercy of the monster storm now thrashing this slender island chain.

The 2 27-yr-olds each lived in trailers in neighboring Cudjoe Key on this palm-studded archipelago that juts about one hundred twenty miles (one hundred ninety kilometers) away from South Florida throughout heat waters.

They and different survivors informed The Related Press what they skilled in Irma’s monstrous grip.

Hartman and Skiverhow stated they watched 10-foot (three-meter) waves churning as Irma approached. As Irma pounded the Keys, even the second flooring of their pal’s house started to flood. Then the ceiling caved in. Probably there have been tornados, too. The sound was so loud, Hartman says, “it harm your eardrums.”

Like others on this idyllic spot for snorkeling, boating, fishing and laid-backed nonchalance, they did not consider the attention would move proper over them. However it did.

“No one did beforehand, however then by the point we (knew), it was too late,” Skiver stated. Afterward, they emerged to seek out the houses on both aspect of their pal’s home had their roofs torn off.

After Irma barreled up the Florida peninsula, the 2 returned to their very own trailer houses. Surprisingly, each trailers have been comparatively unscathed – in contrast to many others left crumpled and splintered.

Now, like different survivors, they grapple with huge questions like the best way to put their lives again collectively.

“We do not have meals and water in abundance, and all of that stuff’s simply gonna take a very long time,” Skiver stated.

On Wednesday, the 2 have been out foraging. Their vacation spot: a faculty the place army meals-prepared-to-eat have been being handed out.

And Skiver had a phrase of recommendation for many who left forward of Irma: “Do not come again. No less than (not) for a very long time.”


Officers aren’t positive when residents of the center and decrease Florida Keys shall be allowed again. First staff have to scramble to get energy again and water operating.

Palm Seashore County Hearth Rescue spokesman Jeremy Hurd, who was within the Keys serving to out, stated officers need to be certain that infrastructure is in place…

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