Storm brought tropical storm-force winds, minor flooding

Well, it certainly wasn’t nothing. But when all was said and done, the Florida Keys got lucky – relatively speaking – in the wake of Hurricane Ian.

Torrential rain and waters pushed to the north by Ian’s eastern edge, coupled with an already high king tide common for the season, found many Marathon residents on the island’s ocean side dealing with rising waters in the late hours of Sept. 27. Low-lying areas commonly flooded during king tides were the hardest hit, with some residents in the area of 60th to 90th Street Ocean reporting as much as knee-deep water throughout the night. But when it was all over, the Middle Keys never experienced so much as an extended power outage. Heck, we even kept our wi-fi.

Though much of the oceanside flooding had receded by the following morning except for common areas of standing water, gulfside residents anxiously awaited the storm surge predicted by the National Weather Service to arrive that afternoon after Ian’s passing. While some areas did find themselves swamped as expected, damages in the Keys by and large paled in comparison to the tragedies seen unfolding in the Fort Myers area of Florida’s west coast as Ian made landfall with winds just shy of Category 5 strength.

With schools, government offices and many businesses closed on Tuesday and Wednesday, business resumed for most organizations on Thursday, followed by county schools reopening on Friday, Sept. 30.

Photos courtesy of Robert King, Gables On The Go and community contributors.

Alex Rickert made the perfectly natural career progression from dolphin trainer to newspaper editor in 2021 after freelancing for Keys Weekly while working full time at Dolphin Research Center. A resident of Marathon since 2015, he fell in love with the Florida Keys community by helping multiple organizations and friends rebuild in the wake of Hurricane Irma. An avid runner, actor, and spearfisherman, he spends as much of his time outside of work on or under the sea having civil disagreements with sharks.