FEMA estimates 25 percent of Florida Keys homes are gone – New York News

Residents were allowed to return Tuesday to some islands in the hurricane-slammed Florida Keys as officials sought to piece together the scope of Irma’s destruction and rush aid into the drenched and debris-strewn state.


MIAMI — Residents were allowed to return Tuesday to some islands in the hurricane-slammed Florida Keys as officials sought to piece together the scope of Irma’s destruction and rush aid into the drenched and debris-strewn state.

Two days after the storm roared into the Keys with 130 mph winds, the full extent of the damage there was still a question mark because communications and access were cut off in many cases.

At the northern end of the Keys, residents and business owners from Key Largo, Tavernier and Islamorada were allowed back for their first look.

The Lower Keys — including the chain’s most distant and most populous island, Key West, with 27,000 people — were still off-limits, with a roadblock in place where the single highway to the farther islands was washed out. Road repairs were promised in the coming days.

Corey Smith, a UPS driver who rode out the hurricane in Key Largo, said that power was out on the island, there was very limited gas and supermarkets were closed. Branches and other brush blocked some roads.

“They’re shoving people back to a place with no resources,” he said by telephone. “It’s just going to get crazy pretty quick.”

Still, he said people coming back to Key Largo should be relieved that many buildings escaped major damage.

On Tuesday morning, the rainy remnants of Irma pushed through Alabama and Mississippi after drenching…

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