As Hurricane Irma bore down on Key West, a National Weather Service meteorologist stationed there explained Saturday how he plans to ride out the historic storm in a bunker in order to keep providing information to the public as long as possible.
"As I watch Irma progress, I increasingly fear what the aftermath is going to look like," Tropical Weather Program manager William South wrote in an op-ed published by the Washington Post. "When the worst of Irma passes and we emerge from the bunker, perhaps Monday, I hope I see the beautiful island I'm familiar with, and not just flat devastation stretching out to the sea."
South explained that the team's bunker is built to withstand 220 mile-per-hour winds, meaning that they will survive the storm. Nevertheless, he is preparing to go weeks without power or access to the mainland, as he expects that Irma could destroy the bridges connecting the islands to southern Florida.
Having lived in Key West since 2001, South said that residents of the town who are normally "cavalier" about storms are taking Irma seriously, and that many have left.
Nevertheless, people could still be seen milling about the marker indicating the southernmost point of the continental U.S. on Key West Saturday afternoon via that location's webcam.
The eye of Irma had just entered the NWS Key West's radar visibility Saturday afternoon. Via Twitter, the office shared projections, information, and warnings as the storm approached.