“We have survived Hurricane Irma.” That assessment came this morning from ARRL West Central Florida (WCF) Section Manager Darrell Davis, KT4WX, who reported that the storm’s eye passed over the Hardee County emergency operations center just before midnight EDT on September 10. (Davis also is the Hardee County Emergency Coordinator). Irma has now been downgraded to a tropical storm, but flooding remains a threat as the storm’s remnants move inland. Davis said he was grateful for the Ham Aid equipment — four hand-held transceivers and one mobile transceiver — that ARRL sent to Florida as the storm threatened the peninsula last week. After hitting the Florida Keys, Hurricane Irma made landfall near Naples, Florida, on September 10 at around 2100 UTC as a Category 2 storm.
No one is standing down just yet, however. Davis said his section, which includes the City of Tampa, will have a conference call this afternoon and an ARES net this evening “to assess any unmet needs by our ARES groups in our Section.” Thirty Florida counties were under mandatory evacuation orders. As of today, FEMA reports that 586 shelters are open, housing some 192,000 occupants. FEMA also reported that more than one-half of the state’s customers — some 5.7 million people — were without electrical power as of early this morning