Irma storm surge floods Miami streets

MIAMI (AP/WNCN) — Heavy flooding was seen in Miami as Hurricane Irma hit the opposite coast along Florida Sunday morning and afternoon.

The hurricane was so large that despite hitting southwest Florida, the winds from the eastern part of the storm were pushing seawater into cities, including Miami.

South Florida Water Management District chief engineer John Mitnik says it will probably be Sunday night before the storm surge in Miami completely subsides.

MORE COVERAGE: Irma stories, video and more in Hurricane Central

Meanwhile, the storm surge near Cudjoe Key may be flooding the nearby Florida Key Deer Refuge, home to fewer than 1,000 of the endangered Key deer.

The unique subspecies of white-tailed deer about 3 feet (1 meter) tall at the shoulder, the size of a large dog, but wildlife officials were not immediately concerned that the herd had been lost to floodwaters.

Dan Clark is refuge manager for the Florida Keys National Wildlife Refuges Complex. He says the deer are “excellent swimmers.”

Clark evacuated his staff Wednesday, and he spoke with The Associated Press by phone from Pinellas County.

He says the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service staff planned to return as soon as weather permitted to begin assessing how the deer and other endangered species fared throughout the narrow, low-lying island chain.

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