1. Weather

Sun rises in Marco Island after Irma's landfall, and it's still standing

Carport and roofing material lay angled off Beverly Drive at Old Marco Junction east of Marco Island following the landfall of Hurricane Irma. [DOUG CLIFFORD | Times]
Published Sep. 11, 2017

MARCO ISLAND — Daybreak Monday revealed what everyone had hoped for: Marco Island largely still stood.

Save for the palm fronds and occasional trunk that littered the roadway, Hurricane Irma left most of the island intact, despite making landfall here Sunday afternoon as a Category 3 storm.

Its track meandered from east to west, its wander straddling Miami to Tampa, before settling on the wealthy resort town in southern Collier County

Had Martin Pilote known his home would take the storm on its nose, maybe he wouldn't have stayed. But he'd weathered Wilma in 2005 in Naples, so, he asked, "Why go?"

"I could sleep in my bed," the 56-year-old Quebec City native said. Plus, after the storm, "you can take care of business right away," he added.

That's exactly what he was doing early Monday. He had already assessed the damage to his house: three broken windows and a garage door that had almost collapsed, but didn't. Good thing. Inside the garage were five motorcycles: a Harley-Davidson up on a lift that he was restoring, an old Honda Goldwing, two vintage bikes and a Kawasaki Ninja.

The bikes were fine, and so was his boat, parked in its slip behind the house. Pilote had a generator running and invited a friend over to charge up.

He mocked Irma, now disintegrating in North Florida, though still managing to cause flooding in Jacksonville: "Wilma was tougher than that."

The early morning on the island was dark and quiet, with just hundreds if not thousands of damaged trees as company. Most residents evacuated before the hurricane came ashore.

Some street flooding remained, hours after the storm surge and just before high tide, at about 3:30 a.m. On the southern end of the island, San Marco Road was flooded. Farther north, Collier Boulevard was littered with tree limbs and downed wires.

On Bald Eagle Drive, a white Honda CR-V looks abandoned, sitting in the middle of the road, wet vegetation plastered on its window.

There are few signs of widespread destruction. The roof was torn off a building that houses a Montessori school and the local newspaper. Aluminum gutters lie tangled along the curbs.

Expensive seaside homes remain standing, many roofs apparently still intact.

COMPLETE COVERAGE:Find all our coverage about Hurricane Irma here

Contact Josh Solomon at Follow @Josh_Solomon15


  1. Temperatures could dip below 70 Tuesday for the first time since Mid-May, setting a new record for consecutive days at 70 degrees or above.
    For one day this week weather will dip from scorching to normal.
  2. The projected path of Nestor National Hurricane Center
    Nestor is expected to dump two to four inches of rain in Tampa Bay, along with the threat of tornadoes.
  3. A semi-trailer truck fell onto an SUV on Interstate 4 on Friday night after a reported tornado touched down and crossed the highway near Lakeland. No one was injured. LUIS SANTANA  |  Times
    A tornado caused damage and power loss but no injuries in Pinellas County. In Polk County, I-4 drivers were fortunate no one was injured when another tornado crosses the interstate.
  4. The projected path for Tropical Storm Nestor, according to the National Hurricane Center. National Hurricane Center
    Tampa Bay should expect wind and rain tonight into Saturday morning, according to the National Weather Service
  5. Trombone Shorty and Orleans Avenue was scheduled to headline on Friday, Oct. 18 at the Clearwater Jazz Holiday in Coachman Park. Mathieu Bitton
    Festival and city officials will monitor the weather accordingly as a tropical disturbance threatens heavy wind and rain.
  6. The projected path for Potential Tropical Cyclone 16, according to the National Hurricane Center. National Hurricane Center
    Thunderstorms have been spotted off the west coast of Florida as Potential Tropical Cyclone 16 moves over the central Gulf of Mexico.
  7. Donny Jasinski, a Baltimore native and a freshman at the University of Tampa, relaxes by the pool while browsing through his I-Phone on the campus Aquatics Center on Thursday, September 27, 2018. "One of the reasons why I came here for school was the weather," said Jasinski. JONES, OCTAVIO  |  Tampa Bay Times
    It’s fall, but it sure doesn’t feel like fall. When will the bay area get some real pumpkin spice weather?
  8. A broad area of low pressure headed toward the Gulf of Mexico will bring wind, rain and possibly tornadoes to the Tampa Bay area this weekend. National Hurricane Center
    The National Hurricane Center has issued a storm surge watch for Florida’s Gulf Coast from Indian Pass to Clearwater.
  9. This satellite image shows Hurricane Michael on Oct. 9, 2018, as it enters the Gulf of Mexico. It made landfall near Mexico Beach in the Panhandle as a Category 5 storm. Florida State University professor Wenyuan Fan said the storm probably created "stormquakes" offshore in the gulf, too. [Photo courtesy of the National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration]] NOAA
    Analysis of a decade of records shows hurricanes causing seismic activity on continental shelf
  10. Tropical depression 15 has formed in the eastern Atlantic. National Weather Service
    The newly formed system joins a tropical wave off the coast of South America.