Key West, Florida

Power & Motor Yacht - - SPECIAL REPORT -

Af­ter tear­ing through the Caribbean as a Cat­e­gory 5 Hur­ri­cane, Irma, one of the strong­est ever recorded in the At­lantic, made land­fall in South Florida. By then its winds had climbed to 113 knots—enough to peel the roof off a build­ing.

Irma shut down Mi­ami and rav­aged the Keys, snap­ping palm trees in half and wedg­ing boats be­tween houses. The Over­seas High­way, or Route 1, that con­nects the Keys to mainland Florida was re­duced to a long, wind­ing land­fill. De­bris posed a sig­nif­i­cant chal­lenge for con­voys of first re­spon­ders and util­ity work­ers who tried to re­store power and some nor­malcy to the is­lands.

Cleanup ef­forts were led in part by the Florida Na­tional Guard’s Chem­i­cal Bi­o­log­i­cal Ra­di­o­log­i­cal Nu­clear Emer­gency Re­sponse ForcePack­age (CERF-P), whose teams chain­sawed felled trees to clear en­try points, while Zo­diac and Res­cue One teams boarded aban­doned ves­sels, not­ing their lo­ca­tion and check­ing dam­aged homes along the wa­ter for fa­tal­i­ties or signs of life.

The over­all feeling in the wake of the ef­forts was up­lift­ing: Key West would re­build.

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