Almost a year after Hurricane Irma caused billions of dollars in damages across Florida, you’d be hard-pressed to find any evidence of the storm on tiny Marco Island.
The eye of the Category 3 hurricane made landfall here on Sept. 10, 2017, right before the island’s peak tourist season. It uprooted trees, flooded streets and homes, damaged roofs and shut the 4-by-6-mile island with no running water or electricity.
These days, the island looks as if nothing even happened — especially in the tourist areas. (Tropical Storm Gordon’s Labor Day weekend visit this year had little lasting effect.)
"By the third week of November you would’ve had to look very hard to see any damage," said Amanda Cox, the director of marketing for the JW Marriott Marco Island Beach Resort. "The way the community of Marco Island rallied for its peak season of the year made me so proud."
The Marriott is just one of the high-end resorts and condominiums on Marco Island’s Gulf of Mexico beachfront. The most notable damage there was to the hotel’s landscaping and on its two golf courses, Cox said, which the Marriott was able to quickly repair. The bigger issue was the damage to many of the staff’s homes.
"The moment we had phone service again, our executive office was filled with guests wanting to check on their favorite vacation spot as well as the associates that work there. ‘I want to know how Dave the bellman is, how is his family and what can I do for his house?’ " Cox said. "I have never seen anything like it."