KWAME HOLMAN: The 21st hurricane of the season and the eighth to hit hurricane weary Florida in 15 months roared ashore early this morning. Strong winds and rain lashed the West Coast of the state beginning with the Florida Keys where Wilma hit as a Category 3 storm.
As daylight broke, the winds intensified along the Southwest Coast sending debris flying through the air and flooding streets in the city of Naples. Naples is just 22 miles north of Cape Romano where Wilma made landfall at 6:30 this morning with sustained winds of 125 miles per hour.
In the Keys the storm surge reached 10 feet. Early reports said Key West was 35 percent flooded, including the only highway connecting the islands to the mainland.
By the time the eye crossed the peninsula and reached the Miami area, Wilma had been downgraded to a Category 2 hurricane but still packed a powerful 105-mile-per-hour punch ripping tree limbs and downing power lines.
Areas around Miami stretching north to Fort Lauderdale and Boca Raton were hit harder than expected, the ubiquitous palm trees that lined the street taking a windy beating. Debris blew around Miami, water mains burst and trees blocked roadways. Florida Gov. Jeb Bush cautioned people to stay inside.
GOV. JEB BUSH: Please stay off the roads. There are a couple of reasons for that: it's dangerous number one; and number two, individuals on the roads impede the ability of law enforcement officials to quickly respond to emergencies.
KWAME HOLMAN: Transformers blew across southern Florida causing mass power outages; 3.2 million homes and businesses were without power affecting 6 million people. The acting director of FEMA said the agency is ready to go with relief supplies.
DAVID PAULISON: The response side of FEMA has gotten a couple of weeks of rest. And they're moving rapidly, the urban search-and-rescue teams, the medical teams, our teams on the ground, in the field are moving very quickly and are rested and ready to go.
So yeah, we are tired of hurricanes and yeah, we are all stressed out a little bit but we're prepared to handle this one also.
KWAME HOLMAN: Meanwhile relief was hard to come by in Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula devastated earlier by the storm. The region was pounded relentlessly by a then slow-moving Wilma for three days before it dashed across warm belt waters to strike Florida.
Today Mexican President Vincente Fox toured the resort city of Cancun.
PRESIDENT VICENTE FOX: Cancun is devastated, destroyed completely. We toured around yesterday and the situation is difficult. But fortunately this town and its people have a lot of spirit, strength and courage.
KWAME HOLMAN: President Fox also announced plans to begin evacuating some 30,000 tourists stuck in the region. Wilma's reach extended to the south of Florida as well.
Large portions of Havana, Cuba, were underwater today as storm surges inundated the city with water in some places three feet deep. Late this afternoon, Wilma re-intensified to a Category 3 hurricane over the open waters of the Atlantic.