By Peter D'Oench

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Tropical Storm Eta appears to have caused most of its damage in Key Largo after coming ashore around 11 p.m. in Lower Matecumbe Key which is 7 miles south of Islamorada.

There were wind gusts of more than 60 miles per hour and a significant storm surge that caused flooding and left about 1,000 people without power in the Upper Keys, according to Monroe County Administrator Roman Gastesti.

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By midday Monday, Gastesti said nearly all of that power had been restored.

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Checking damage around Key Largo, CBS4’s Peter D’Oench discovered massive cleanup by residents of severed tree limbs and fallen trees and some flooding of streets. On Oleander Road, strong winds uprooted one tree and it crushed a Kia.

Much of the damage was on Transylvania Avenue near Mile Mark 103.

That’s where a big Banyan tree that was also uprooted by the strong winds crushed a home that Dillon Deese was in with his 5-year-old Chocolate Labrador Aries. He told CBS4’s Peter D’Oench they barely escaped with their lives.

Deese said “I was sitting on a couch watching a Netflix movie about 9:45 or so and my dog was on the ground and all of a sudden this big tree came through my front door like a bad nightmare. At first, I was trapped and the roof was on top of but I was able to shimmy out. The first thing I thought was there is my dog. She is all I have down here. I needed to find her but thank God my neighbor found her and she is ok. She was able to move just fast enough where she didn’t get hurt.”

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“I also got this gash on my head and I was fixed up with staples,” he said.


Further down Transylvania Avenue, Dawn Barton said “This damage was much more than I expected. It was much more. I mean come on this is November but what else would you expect in this year of 2020. I have trees down in my back yard and my cable is out and I can not reach my cable company. I know this must have been a tornado because it felt like a freight train and I thought my roof was going to come off.

Some 58 people took advantage of shelters.

Monroe County says a coastal flood warning is still in effect in the Upper Keys. Officials say storm grains could overflow and wind gusts could reach 45 miles per hour. They also said there is a threat of tornadoes and they fear more rain could fall through Tuesday.

They also say an evacuation order has been rescinded for those living in Mobile homes and in recreational vehicles and in vessels.

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County Administrator Roman Gastesi said “We are professionals down here. We are used to this. We are prepared for this. This is the cost of living in paradise.”

Peter D'Oench