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Hurricane Irma: Naples, Florida mayor says city "dodged" storm surge predictions

Naples mayor on Irma damage
Naples mayor on Hurricane Irma damage 03:13

Hurricane Irma reached Naples with a terrifying force. The Naples Municipal Airport recorded a wind gust of 142 mph – the highest reported in Florida. 

Naples Mayor Bill Barnett, who was also the city's mayor during Hurricanes Charley and Wilma in 2004 and 2005, said the city "took a real hard hit." But as for the "good news," he pointed to the storm surge.

"Storm surge here was predicted to be anywhere between 12 and 18 feet. And we really dodged that. We had minimal, minimal storm surge. Still have a lot of water though, and there are couple neighborhoods we can't even get into," Barnett told "CBS This Morning" Monday, as he was out assessing the damage.

Powerful Hurricane Irma Slams Into Florida
Louis Castro picks up a coconut downed by the winds of Hurricane Irma on Sept. 11, 2017 in Naples.  Mark Wilson / Getty Images

"Luckily and thankfully so far not a lot of structural damage. I will tell you that there are road blocks. There's flooding. There is a neighborhood – that are badly flooded. I'm looking at a tree right now that's on top of a transformer box, so Florida Power & Light is going to have a massive, massive, massive job, not just in Naples but all across the state as you know," Barnett said. The storm knocked out power to more than 6.5 million Florida residents.

"The only structural damage down there was it blew the roof off of a – we have a fire station there but it's only manned for the airports. So nobody hurt. And if that's the worst, we can live with it for sure," Barnett added.

Hurricane Irma weakened to a tropical storm Monday, but the extreme weather has lashed nearly every part of Florida. Irma is blamed for the worst storm surge flooding ever recorded in cities like Jacksonville. Irma is now moving north, dumping huge amounts of rain in Alabama, Georgia, and South Carolina.

Barnett said he knows it's going to be an expensive cleanup, but "so far I haven't heard of any injuries or ... loss of lives, and so I'm really pleased about that." 

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