ISLAMORADA (CBSMiami) – Tropical Storm Eta made landfall late Sunday night on Lower Matecumbe Key in the Florida Keys as a strong tropical storm with maximum winds estimated to be near 65 mph.
Just about seven miles to the north, CBS4’s Ted Scouten was in Islamorada and witnessed the storm surge first-hand as high wind pushed water from the ocean onto the shore.
In Islamorada, nearly everything was closed Sunday evening. Some places did not opt to put up shutters but others did, just in case.
“Just closed the shutters, pulled the patio furniture in, secured the boats. I’ve stayed here on class one’s before, that’s about as strong a storm I’ll stay, everything else I’ll get off the rock,” said resident Rick McCall.
McCall is not expecting too much trouble, but he didn’t want to take any chances.
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Jordan Griffiths helped friends get ready.
“Just secured their chairs, put away some of the lose stuff sitting around the house. That kind of thin like that. Nothing too crazy,” said Griffiths.
SEE MORE FROM TED SCOUTEN IN ISLAMORADA HERE:
With the storm impacting the Florida Keys, emergency managers are staffing the EOC 24 hours, but they did not order anyone to leave.
“No mandatory evacuations,” said Monroe County Administrator Roman Gastesi. “We’re encouraging the tourists to stay put. Most hotels are well built and can withstand a storm like this.”
Three shelters were opened for those who live in low lying areas, on boats, or for those concerned about riding out the storm.
“We have some areas at this time of year that get flooding because they’re low lying areas. We’ve had a lot of rain recently and then you’ll have storm surge that will effect drainage. A combination of that could be a problem,” said Gastesi.
He also said he knows people are fatigued, but reminds everyone it could be worse.
“We’re all tired. We have COVID fatigue, hurricane fatigue, economic downturn fatigue. This is the cost of living in paradise. We’re ready for this and let’s face it, Louisiana has had it harder than us. We’ve been fortunate.”