Irma wasn't the total disaster that was feared. But in parts of Florida, you could see disaster from there | 9/11/2017 | Staff
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The historic Naples Pier at the end of 12th Avenue was still standing. Some of the streetlights had flickered back to life. The pricey houses that line the sugar sand beaches, the ones everyone feared would be struggling to stand against a surging inland sea, were barely damp.

A day after Hurricane Irma made landfall near here in what forecasters warned would be one of the most destructive storms ever to hit Florida, the pretty little seaside town of Naples, near ground zero of the Category 3 storm’s approach, found itself largely unscathed. Scattered palm fronds, fallen trees, a collapsed gas station canopy and several flooded streets seemed to be the main remnants of the hurricane’s storied fury.

Couple - Feet - Water - House - Terry

“I was expecting there to be a couple of feet of water inside my house,” said Terry Klontz, who had anticipated spending the day pumping water out of his large home across the street from the beach in Naples. “I had thought of pulling out my fishing pole so I could catch some of those fish that were supposed to be swimming up the street.”

To be sure, the road in front of his house was knee-deep in water, and Klontz had to yell at gawkers cruising by in their pickups, pushing waves of water toward his house. So far, the water hadn’t come past the front door.

Calls - Damage - Klontz

“I’m getting all these calls asking, ‘How bad is the damage?’ ” Klontz said. “It’s mostly not that bad.”

But southwest Florida did not emerge unscathed, and as Irma diminished to a tropical storm and blew into Georgia on Monday, many of those left in its wake were only beginning to assess the damage.

Scene - Parts - Bonita - Springs - North

The scene in some parts of Bonita Springs, just north of Naples, was downright grim.

In a modest pocket of homes and businesses by the interstate, the...
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