Early Sunday morning, as the eye of the massive Hurricane Irma was about to hit Key West, conditions were dire in the Middle Keys city of Marathon.
Larry Kahn, editor of the Keynoter and an editor for FlKeysNews.com, reported from one of Monroe County’s four “refuges of last resort” — a shelter set up at Marathon High School on Sombrero Road, that power was out, there was no running water, and everything outside was submerged by storm surge and rain.
“Everything is underwater. I mean everything,” Kahn said.
To make matters worse, one of the estimated 50 people staying at the shelter died overnight. Kahn said he was told by a Monroe Sheriff’s Office deputy that the man died of natural causes.
“He was staying in one of the classrooms,” Kahn said. “Police came up, along with a couple of nurses who are here, actually, got everyone out of the room and sealed it off.”
With everyone’s food running low, a deputy told Kahn that other deputies were going to go into the school’s cafeteria and raid the kitchen to make sure everyone stayed fed.
“He told me everyone could be in this building for days,” Kahn said. “Everyone here seems to be just walking around in a fog.”
The National Weather Service in Key West reported regular 80- to 90-mph wind gusts around 8 a.m. The northern eye wall of the storm was just off Key West at 7 a.m., with the eye 15 miles southeast of the Southernmost City.