John Huston is riding out the storm in his house on Key Largo, Florida, where he's lived since 1993. His neighborhood is on the Atlantic side of the island, just south of John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park.
He's been sharing his experience via text message with The Associated Press on Sunday morning, as Hurricane Irma comes ashore in the island chain.
His unedited dispatches:
7:23 a.m.: Its blowing with gusts up to about 90. Water level is higher today. Incredible wind that wont stop
9 a.m.: My street is 3ft deep.
9:04 a.m.: Swimming pool under water
9:38 a.m.: My ground slab is 5.5 ft above mean high tide and its 1 foot under
11:05 a.m.: 100 mph gusts. Small boats floating down the street next to furniture and refrigerators. Very noisy. I got 4 cars all underwater n still 1.5 hrs till hi tide. Shingles are coming off n minor leaks in the house. Im 76 miles from the eye. I feel sorry for them
11:13 a.m.: Getting worse. Water n winds, whiteout
12:44 p.m.: Still whiteout, 100 plus. Roof is leaking on spots.
12:45 p.m: Send cold beer. LOL
12:47 p.m.: Wind has shifted from the south some n water droped 3 inches. They say the gulf side of largo is dry. Its normally 8 ft deep.
12:47 p.m.: Im on the ocean side.
12:49 p.m.: Got water dripping from my paddle fans
12:53 p.m.: Tide is going out now so it should drop a foot or two.
6:04 p.m.: Getting nice now. Maybe 40 mph. What a mess.
6:07 p.m.: Main structures look ok. Just the ground levels are a mess.