Monroe County Administrator Roman Gastesi said he is incredulous and ecstatic that the Keys have been able to move so quickly to restore service in the Florida Keys. By tomorrow, Sept. 13, 100 percent of the streets in Key West will be cleared. By tomorrow, Sept. 13, 90 percent of the search and rescue mission will be complete in the Lower Keys. At this moment no deceased have been found trapped in homes, however, crews do not have authority to break down doors to search. By tomorrow, officials hope to have a hotline established where citizens can call to request check-ins of missing friends and relatives. The Weekly will publish that number as soon as it is available.
Supplies are flowing into the Keys. Disaster recovery centers with food and water have been set up at the following locations: Marathon High School, Sugarloaf School in the Lower Keys, and at Searstown and Bahama Village soccer fields in Key West.
Supplies are landing in the Florida Keys at all three airports — Marathon, Key West and the Naval Air Station.
There is no change to the re-entry status of Keys residents. Currently only emergency personnel — medical, electric and water utilities, and communications personnel — are allowed in. Upper Keys residents and business owners are also allowed in. Check points have been established at Florida City and at MM 80 have been established. Non-authorized travelers will be turned back.
• Florida Keys Electric Cooperative has the main transmission line powered to the south end of 7 Mile Bridge. Substations are also successfully up and running. Crews are working on restoring power to neighborhoods from the substations from Key Largo to the 7 Mile Bridge. It estimates 30 percent — an admittedly wild guess — of its customers have power. Crews will be working in all areas tomorrow to restore power to multiple neighborhoods simultaneously. Keys Energy Service that serves Key West to the 7 Mile Bridge is working to restore its main transmission line and hopes that will be complete by tomorrow. The main priority will be restoring power to the emergency management center in Key West, the grocery stores and the hospital. Keys Energy, which provides service in the most affected area, estimates it has 300 poles to replace, a time consuming maneuver.
• The Florida Keys Aqueduct Authority has water pressure — enough to flow out of taps — to the east end of the 7 Mile Bridge on the main transmission line. Crews are working side streets tomorrow. Key West will have water service tomorrow from 10 a.m. to noon. The entire Keys is under a boil water mandate.
• The state Department of Transportation has deemed all of the bridges safe for travel. The road at Sea Oats Beach has been repaired with temporary asphalt. The washout at Bahia Honda is expected to be finished by Friday. The agency reports that 100 percent of Overseas Highway has been cleared and is now working on hauling the debris away.
• Two mobile medical centers have been set up, including one at the Marathon Community Park. Mariners Hospital and Lower Keys Medical Center have their emergency rooms open with limited staffing and abilities.
• The dawn to dusk curfew is still in effect. Monroe County Sheriff’s Office and supporting agencies are on full patrol.
• There is still no cell service in the Middle and Lower Keys.
• Reports indicate that there is no cell service south of Sea Oats Beach.
• Rumor control: The idea that the Homeland Department of Defense would evacuate the current residents of the Keys is false. Also, beware of airlines that are selling tickets into the Florida Keys. At the moment, all airports are open ONLY for emergency military flights and even general aviation is at a stand still. Citizens who buy tickets and board planes are likely to be rerouted to somewhere else.
ISLAMORADA: The highway and the side streets are clear to at least a single lane of traffic. The emergency operations center is located at Island Christian School which has power.
LAYTON: No issues.
MARATHON: There is no power or water or sewer service in the neighborhoods. There is no fuel. Evacuees need to wait because there is no power, according to Marathon City Manager Chuck Lindsey. “We are doing everything in our power to get our city back to the point where residents can come back,” he said.
KEY COLONY: 100 percent of roads are clear.
KEY WEST: Power is being restored, fuel is scarce and there are no ongoing search and rescue missions.