What to Know About Traveling to the Florida Keys After Hurricane Irma
In the 10 days of its existence, Hurricane Irma plowed a path through the Caribbean and up the southeastern United States, leaving a trail of destruction in its wake. The storm’s total monetary damage is yet to been determined, but it killed at least 42 people, including eight in the U.S.
The storm may be over, but the reconstruction process is just beginning. It will take weeks — if not months — before the affected areas fully recover.
For those questioning canceling or rescheduling an upcoming trip to the Florida Keys, here’s everything to know about Florida travel in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma.
What parts of Florida were hit by Irma?
Pretty much all of it — although there were certain parts of the state that got the brunt of the storm. The Keys, an archipelago of islands off the state's southern tip, were pounded the worst and sustained the most damage.
Miami, Everglades City, Naples, and their surrounding small towns were hit hard by Irma. Trees crashed down and knocked power wires down with them. Jacksonville saw record-breaking flooding and will deal with significant water damage this week.
Tampa, St. Petersburg, and Orlando all survived the storm without much significant damage.
What was the total damage from Irma?
Damage assessment is ongoing and officials are reluctant to release numbers while investigations continue.
FEMA reported that 90 percent of homes in the Keys suffered some damage, with 25 percent destroyed.
Are roads open in the Florida Keys?
Yes. The Florida Department of Transportation reported that all 42 bridges along U.S. 1, which leads into and out of the Keys, have been inspected and cleared. All areas of the highway that were damaged have since been rebuilt.
Is it safe to travel to the Florida Keys?
It’s safe, but supplies are still scarce. Some residents are still without electricity and running water. Rescue crews remain in the area to supply those in need.
There is still a dawn-to-dusk curfew instilled in the Keys.
What is closed?
The majority of hotels in the Keys are still closed, although most will reopen within the coming weeks.
By September 24: The Quality Inn in Florida City-Homestead will reopen.
By October 2: The DoubleTree Resort by Hilton in Key West, Hilton Garden Inn Key West, Hyatt Residence Club Key West, Hyatt Place Marathon/Florida Keys, Crowne Plaza: Key West-La Concha, and Hyatt Residence Club Key West Beach House will all reopen.
By October 13: The Dove Creek Lodge in Key Largo will reopen. Most Key Largo hotels have already reopened. In Key West, The Reach Key West, Hyatt Centric Key West and Casa Marina Key West will have opened, as well. The Tranquility Bay and Hawks Cay resorts are expected to open mid-October.
In November: Bluegreen Vacations Hammocks at Marathon is scheduled to reopen on November 17 and the Holiday Inn Express & Suites is scheduled to reopen on November 27.
The Sheraton Suite Key West resumed “limited operations” but won’t be fully operational until further notice. Diamond Rock’s Inn at Key West will remain closed until further notice, as well.
Limited commercial flights have resumed at Key West International Airport.
Editor's Note: This article was updated with the most current information available on Thursday, Sept. 21. Recovery efforts in the Florida Keys are ongoing.