After Ian, Florida Keys Infrastructure Intact, Key West Airport Open
FLORIDA KEYS — People who care about the Florida Keys likely are aware the island chain felt impacts from Hurricane Ian’s tropical storm-force winds and storm surge Sept. 27-28, when the center of Hurricane Ian passed well west of Key West.
Major Florida Keys & Key West infrastructure remains intact throughout the 125-mile-long island chain. Key West International Airport is open and operating, and traffic is flowing as usual along the Florida Keys Overseas Highway, including all 42 bridges.
The most impacted area of the contiguous Keys island chain was Key West, where many roads were flooded because of storm surge or were blocked by fallen trees. City crews removed foliage debris and performed clean-up tasks on streets, neighborhoods, visitor areas and landmarks including the famed Southernmost Point.
The other parts of the island chain, from the Lower Keys through Marathon and Islamorada to Key Largo, had far fewer impacts from Ian.
One family on Stock Island, adjacent to Key West, got a surprise as they cleaned seaweed from around their boat ramp: a green sea turtle hatchling buried in about a foot of seaweed. Eight-year-old Khannan Mellies and his family promptly named the tiny turtle “Ian,” and it was transported to the Middle Keys’ Turtle Hospital for care and an eventual release back into the wild.
Of interest to visitors:
- Electrical power was temporarily interrupted in parts of Key West during the storm but was quickly restored. Power is operational throughout the Keys and Key West.
- Almost all Keys lodging establishments escaped significant storm impact and are open, tourism officials reported.
- Keys attractions, watersports operations, restaurants and bars are open or reopening, although hours and offerings may vary.
- Several of the Florida Keys' 10 state parks are open including John Pennekamp Coral Reef and Dagny Johnson Key Largo Hammock in Key Largo, Islamorada's Windley Key Fossil Reef, Marathon's Curry Hammock and Bahia Honda (for day use only) in the Lower Keys. Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park in Key West reopened Oct. 3 with limited access to the beach, parking and picnic areas. Visitors should check with individual parks before traveling to them.
- Dry Tortugas National Park and Fort Jefferson, lying 70 miles west of Key West, partially reopened to the public Oct. 2. Seaplane service has resumed, but dock repairs are needed before ferry service can resume.
- Everglades National Park reopened the Flamingo District Oct. 3, except the campground, for normal operations. Open areas now include the Flamingo Marina and visitor center, Homestead and Shark Valley entrances and visitor centers and the Main Park Road. Marine waters are open. Visitors are urged to be cautious in case of hazards.
There were no mandatory visitor or resident evacuation orders issued by Monroe County’s emergency management office because sustained hurricane-force winds were not forecasted for the region.
For real-time webcam views of areas around the Florida Keys & Key West, click here.
Throughout the Keys, residents have expressed deep gratitude that the island chain was spared major impacts from Ian, and are supporting relief efforts for those in areas that were hard hit.
Florida Keys visitor information: fla-keys.com or 800-FLA-KEYS
Andy Newman/Carol Shaughnessy