HURRICAN IRMA UPDATE FROM MONROE COUNTY EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT: 4 PM
Monroe County continues to be closed for residents and visitors. The roads remain unsafe for travel due to debris, which includes boats, downed trees, downed power lines, sand and washed out roadway. Hurricanes always provide interesting road blocks, including a black limousine that was left across U.S. 1 in Grassy Key. It has been towed off the roadway.
The Florida Department of Transportation reports that all bridges on U.S. 1 from the 18-Mile Stretch entering the Keys to MM 16 have been inspected and are safe for travel. They are continuing to inspect the remaining bridges.
DOT also dispatched five cut-and-toss crews Monday morning to help clear the roads.
Much of the Florida Keys is still without power and water.
There are 35 trucks and 100 workers en route from Jacksonville to Key West to help restore power to Keys Energy, which services the Lower Keys.
All three of the Keys’ hospitals are closed, including their emergency rooms. Trauma Star’s three air ambulance helicopters are en route to the Keys from Alabama, where they rode out the storm.
“We know this has been a difficult time for everyone and people are anxious to return to their homes,” Monroe County Administrator Roman Gastesi said. “We are working as quickly as we can to make our roads and bridges safe and to restore power, water and medical services.”
Emergency responders and medical personnel have been allowed to enter the Keys.
Naval Air Station Key West runways are currently open for recovery rotary wing aircraft and should open for fixed wing this afternoon.
General aviation at the Key West International and Florida Keys Marathon International airports is closed until further notice.
The Monroe County School District is closed at least through Friday.
The National Guard enteredthe Keys with a large contingent of equipment and personnel to help with recovery efforts. A C-130 cargo plane loaded with water and food is scheduled to land at Naval Air Station Key West in Boca Chica.
Fuel remains a critical concern and must be available for emergency crews.
The USS Lincoln aircraft carrier will shortly be anchored off Key West to provide emergency services, and three other Navy vessels are en route to assist.
The Red Cross and Salvation Army will be bringing thousands of meals ready to eat (MREs) and potable water to the Keys with serving first responders as a priority.
There is still a precautionary boil water notice for all of the Keys until further notice.
And, there is still a dawn-to-dusk curfew until further notice.
Photos by Cammy Clark, Debris on the road in the Keys following Hurricane Irma.