Hurricane Irma: How did favorite vacation destinations fare in storm?

  • Allison Carter
  • The Indianapolis Star
6:41 p.m Monday, Sept. 11, 2017 Atlanta News

Hurricane Irma tore a swath of destruction through the Caribbean before heading north. While it seems the situation could have been far worse in Florida, it is still impacting many of the people and places you may know and love from your vacations.

Irma, now a tropical storm, left 64% of Florida without power Monday, according to Florida's State Emergency Response Team, as of 3 p.m. ET Monday. Every county in the state was affected.

Here's the damage sustained in some of the most well-known vacation spots:

While Florida is sure to receive much of the attention, islands in the Caribbean sustained huge damage as well. At least 20 people were killed as Irma barreled through. St. Thomas and St. John, in the U.S. Virgin Islands, both sustained severe damage, with power and phone service out on St. John. As of Saturday, 70% of customers on St. Thomas were without power, and the roof of the island's only hospital was ripped off. Worse yet? Hurricane Jose had the Caribbean in its sights, too. Over the weekend, Jose only brushed the islands of the Caribbean that had been slammed by Irma, such as Barbuda, Antigua and the Virgin Islands. It's currently a Category 2 storm.

Downtown Daytona's Beach Street was under knee-deep water, according to the Daytona News-Journal. As of Monday morning, 4.66 inches of rain had fallen at Daytona International Airport, and wind gusts reportedly topped 78 miles per hour. 

Irma was still a Category 4 storm when it slammed into the Florida Keys on Sunday. “Everything is underwater, I mean everything,” said Larry Kahn, an editor for the local newspaper The Keynoter. Several inches of water were running down Duval Street after the storm. Water blocked part of U.S. 1, and water levels were three feet above normal. 

In reassuring news, the famed Hemingway House and its 50+, many-toed cats all reportedly survived the storm

There appeared to be minimal structural damage in Fort Myers. Power was out and some streets remained impassable with fallen limbs and flooding. No injuries were reported. 

Flash flooding was reported across Duval, St. Johns and Nassau counties, according to WTLV- and WJXX-TV in Jacksonville. The St. Johns River could expect an additional four-to-six feet of flooding as the tide comes in, the TV station reported. 

Irma's winds were still at 130 miles per hour when it hit Marco Island. While the extent of the damage is still unknown, "it appears large, especially on the south end of the island," Marco Island City Council Chairman Larry Honig said. Honig said many streets are covered with water to mailbox depth. 

As daylight broke, Miami was still assessing the damage. Power and cellphones were largely out; trees were uprooted and some boats were thrown from their moorings.

The Miami International Airport remained closed Monday with storm damage, with the hopes to reopen for a limited schedule Tuesday. The high winds pushed water through window seals and through roof joints, causing minor flooding through the sprawling complex. Even the war room where airport managers met Monday morning was damaged by water.

In nearby Fort Lauderdale, police arrested dozens accused of looting shuttered stores. 

No fatalities have been reported in Naples' Collier County, as of Monday morning. Local officials are calling it "a miracle." According to the State Emergency Response Team 96% of the county is without power. The storm caused significant damage to the county's water and sewer infrastructure. 

High winds continued to whip the vacation capital Monday morning. As with other cities, the primary damage seemed to be power outages, downed trees and localized flooding. The Orlando Sentinel reported a 30-foot by 60-foot sinkhole opened in one neighborhood. 

Essentially all theme parks, including Disney World, Universal Studios and Sea World were closed Monday. Disney World did not lose power, but was hit with high winds and rain. All the parks planned to re-open Tuesday. 

Tampa feared a direct hit, but appeared to have dodged it. Some missing roofs were reported, but the most common problems were once again downed limbs and localized flooding, according to the Tampa Bay Times.

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