First views of Upper Keys show heavy damage, many areas unscathed

By Jeff Tavss - Executive Producer

KEY LARGO, Fla. - Heavy damage was seen throughout the Upper Florida Keys as Sky 10 was able to survey the area hit by Hurricane Irma. The Upper Keys will be open to business owners and residents at 7 a.m. Tuesday. 

Residents in Key Largo, Tavernier and Islamorada are free to return to their homes and must provide a yellow entry sticker or proof of residency. 

A roadblock will be put around Mile Marker 74, just before Sea Oates Beach, where part of the road has washed out. A crew is set to repair that road on Tuesday. 

Monroe County officials are reminding returning residents that most areas are without power and water. Cell service remains spotty throughout the Keys and most gas stations are closed. 

Despite some scenes of destroyed homes and displaced boats, much of the area appeared to be left unscathed by the storm.

Key Largo and the rest of the Upper Keys were spared a direct hit by Irma on Sunday, but still faced powerful hurricane-force winds. 

The roads throughout Monroe County have been deemed unsafe to travel on due to debris which includes boats, downed trees, sand and power lines. 

On one road a black limousine was blocking lanes on U.S. 1 in Grassy Key. 

Due to fuel issues, Sky 10 was only able to fly as south as Key Largo, so there have been few, if any, pictures or video showing how the Lower Keys fared.

All access to the Keys has been shut down by officials as bridges and roads are inspected for safety. The Florida Department of Transportation reported that 22 of the Keys' 42 bridges along US-1 had been inspected and declared safe for travel. 

Much of the Keys remain without power and water. 

There are 35 trucks and 100 workers en route from Jacksonville to Key West to help restore power to Keys Energy, which services the lower Keys. 

Meanwhile, all fo the hospitals in the Keys are closed, including the emergency rooms; however, emergency responders and medical personnel have been allowed to enter the Keys. 

In addition, Mariners Hospital in Tavernier is set to reopen at 7 a.m. Tuesday. 

The National Guard has arrived in the Keys with a large contingent of equipment and personnel to help with the recovery efforts and a plane loaded with water and food is set to arrive at Naval Station Key West. 

The Red Cross and Salvation Army are set to bring meals and water to the Keys in order to serve first responders. 

There is a boil water notice and a dawn-to-dusk curfew for residents in the Keys. 

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