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Key West Island News


Key West Island News connects Key West residents and friends of the island, fosters our One Human Family culture and advances understanding of shared goals for our island community

Hurricane Irma: Top 10 things to tell on-island people in Key West on your next call

By Linda Grist Cunningham, editor and proprietor

Linda Grist Cunningham is editor and proprietor of Key West Island News and KeyWestWatch Media LLC. She and her husband, a park ranger at Fort Zach, live in Key West with their Cat 5s.


The folks who are on-island in Key West following Hurricane Irma have limited access to information. We out here in the land of waiting-and-watching actually know more than our friends and families in Key West. So, as cell service is restored, copy/paste the text and/or text the link to this post with them. That way they’ll have the 10 most important pieces of information they need.

NOTE: Information current as of 4 p.m, Wednesday, Sept. 13.

  1. Electric: Keys Energy Services reports that about seven percent of Key West has service. May have full service 7-10 days. Service is primarily limited to first responders, emergency services. Monroe County Assisted Living Facility, whose generator had failed, now has power. Trying to get power to grocery stores so there’s a food and ice supply.
  2. Water: Florida Keys Aqueduct Authority making progress. In Key West water is turned on from 10 a.m. to noon and from 5 to 7 p.m. Key West and Stock Island will have water from stored supplies and the reverse osmosis plant. Water restrictions are in place. Water should only be used for sanitation purposes and not for washing cars, boats and houses for now. There is still a precautionary boil water notice in effect for all of the Keys.
  3. Cell and internet: The City of Key West has a temporary cell tower behind new City Hall. Go to the parking lot and connect. Other service is sketchy, but AT&T and others are working on it. As of Tuesday, “new” Publix had some sort of wifi still working. Might try it, too, but haven’t heard any recent confirmation.
  4. Food and gasoline: Some coming in, but limited to emergency services, etc. Publix and Winn DIxie say they are working to restore service. Ditto the gas station peeps. But don’t count on anything soon.
  5. When will you come home: Maybe mid- to late-next week. Airport is open for emergency services. No commercial flights. Home and business owners are being allowed back into areas down to MM 73 or so. Bridges and roads have been inspected and repaired. They are OK all the way down the Keys. No one allowed into Key West. There’s a sunrise to sunset curfew in place.
  6. Where to get emergency water and food: Six distribution centers for food and water: Coral Shores High School, Marathon High School, National Key Deer Refuge office on the Overseas Highway in Big Pine Key. Sugarloaf School, Sears Town Plaza in New Town Key West and the 4th Street parking lot near the soccer field in Bahama Village in Old Town Key West.
  7. Medical services: Lower Keys Hospital and Mariner’s Hospital are open with minimal services being offered. Disaster Medical Assistance Teams have arrived and will be setting up medical clinics today in Key West, the Florida Keys Community College and the City of Marathon Park.
  8. There is no 911 service as of noon Wednesday. Working to restore asap.
  9. Rumors of mass casualties are untrue: As of Wednesday morning, there were eight deaths in Monroe County. Includes natural causes and hurricane related. Two of those eight deaths in Key West. Ten injuries in Key West. Thirty in remainder of county.
  10. Check with local bars and businesses: There are some bars open; ditto a few businesses. They may have landlines. Some are also making whatever water and supplies they have available. The list changes constantly, so you might have to walk about.


And, of course, tell them you love them and will be home as soon as you can.


1 Comment

  1. Debra Ainsworth

    Shared with my dear friend in Key West. he lives at the Truman Annex and said they have limited info coming in. Thank you, this is great information!

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