People who care about the Florida Keys likely are aware the island chain felt impacts from Hurricane Ian’s tropical storm-force winds and storm surge Tuesday night and Wednesday, when Ian passed well west of Key West.
Major Florida Keys & Key West infrastructure remains intact throughout the 125-mile-long island chain, and Key West International Airport reopened to commercial service Thursday after being closed because of Ian.
Visitors should check directly with airlines to confirm flight availability, said Monroe County Airports Director Richard Strickland. Airlines Allegiant, American, Delta, Jet Blue, Silver and United offer daily nonstop flights to Key West.
The Florida Keys Overseas Highway, including all 42 bridges, is open and traffic is moving as usual, according to the Monroe County Sheriff's Office.
The most impacted area of the contiguous Keys island chain appears to be Key West, where many roads flooded because of storm surge or were blocked by fallen trees. City crews removed foliage debris and performed clean-up tasks Thursday on streets, neighborhoods, visitor areas and landmarks including the famed Southernmost Point.
The other parts of the island chain, from the Lower Keys through Marathon and Islamorada to Key Largo, had far fewer impacts from Ian.
Of interest to visitors:
- Throughout the Keys, the freshwater delivery system was operational during the storm and remains so.
- As of early Friday, electrical power had been restored throughout Key West and is fully operational throughout the rest of the Keys.
- Almost all Keys lodging establishments escaped significant storm impact and are open, tourism officials reported.
- Keys attractions, watersports operations, restaurants and bars are open or reopening, although hours and offerings may vary.
- Some Florida Keys state parks are open including John Pennekamp Coral Reef in Key Largo, Bahia Honda (for day use only) in the Lower Keys, Marathon's Curry Hammock and Islamorada's Windley Key Fossil Reef. Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park in Key West is expected to reopen shortly. Meanwhile, Dagny Johnson, San Pedro Underwater Archaeological Preserve, Long Key, Lignumvitae and Indian Key state parks remained temporarily closed as of Friday morning. Visitors should check with individual parks before traveling to them.
- Dry Tortugas National Park and Fort Jefferson, lying 70 miles west of Key West, remain closed until further notice.
The National Hurricane Center discontinued a tropical storm warning as well as storm surge warnings and watches for the Keys late Wednesday afternoon.
No mandatory visitor or resident evacuation orders were issued by Monroe County’s emergency management office because sustained hurricane-force winds were not forecasted for the region.
A Key West Community Services worker uses a compact front-end loader to pick up foliage debris at the Southernmost Point marker. Photos: Rob O'Neal
Passengers arrive on the first flight to land at Key West International Airport Thursday morning after the airport was closed for several days because of Hurricane Ian.