National Weather Service Office in Key West Displaying Hurricane Warning Flags
Wasn't that a mighty storm in the morning? Fortunately it didn't blow all the people away (as it does in the song). The good news is that the Florida Keys wasn't destroyed by Hurricane Wilma. However, the islands were flooded with a storm surge that occured after many thought the worst was over. Some residents in the middle Keys were begining to clear limbs from their yards monday morning, when at 9 am a rapid storm surge came in. One friend told me the water came in from the canal at over 20 knots, swept everything from the first floor of her Cudjoe home, and eerily like a mini-tsunami, receeded with the neighborhoods posessions.Residents of Key West who live in low lying areas were also flooded. By some estimates, 50-60 percent of Key West was under water. Many cars were ruined from the saltwater flooding, and the city is very slowly coming back together.Some of the worst damage to the island of Key West was along it's waterfront. The Hilton's marina was totally destroyed, the sharks swam out of the aquariums outdoor holding pens, Atlantic Shores and Ocean Key House both lost most of their piers, and Louis Backyard lost it's backyard.Power has come back for many residents, and it comes as a suprise given the severity of the storm and the widespread outages across southern Florida.Economically, the damage is being estimated as immense. Fantasy Fest has been postponed, and the businesses and their employees are suffering from losing the busiest week of the year. Goombay was also cancelled/rescheduled.Finally, the biggest suprise might be the cold front that followed Wilma. Usually, post-hurricane weather is miserable - hot, muggy, and without a breeze. But this storm, being so late, ended up being directed by a cold front - something no islander can remember happening in the past.Though many have lost a lot, it could have been a lot worse. The island will re-open for business shortly, and for visitors, everything will once again appear as before: an idyllic island surrounded by gem-colored seas.
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