The Florida Keys took the biggest hit from the massive storm with nearly every structure either damaged or destroyed. The Federal Emergency Management Agency said an estimated 25% of houses in the Florida Keys were destroyed and another 65% suffered major damage.
State officials say millions of homes and businesses still have no power, and nearly 100-thousand people are still in shelters. Residents and business owners have been allowed to re-enter the upper Keys. Visitors have been asked to postpone any near-term plans to vacation in the island chain. 31 thousand people were evacuated from the Florida Keys.
Some regions of the Keys were impacted more than others and damage at Keys accommodations’ facilities varies from no impacts, except for landscaping, to severe damage because of storm surge. Assessments are still being executed, but it is believed that most tourism facilities will return to operations soon after the restoration of power, water and communications.
The Florida Department of Transportation has inspected all spans on the Florida Keys Overseas Highway and deemed them safe. A few locations of the highway are being repaired due to storm surge and those repairs should be completed by Thursday.
The Keys are currently under a dusk-to-dawn curfew.
An endangered species of deer in the Florida Keys is still alive following the devastation wrought on the island chain by Hurricane Irma. Around 800 to a thousand Key deer live in the area, most around just 15 miles from where the Category 4 storm made landfall Sunday morning.
Several of the deer have been spotted since but its unclear what the full extent of the impact on the population has been. The deer were already recovering from a parasitic screwworm fly infestation in the fall of 2016, which painfully killed off a large portion of the animals.