Irma’s fierce eyewall battered the Lower Keys early Sunday as the record-breaking hurricane descended on the low-lying chain of islands curling off South Florida. The north side of Irma’s eye, about 23 miles wide, began brushing Key West at daybreak, hammering the islands with waves and gusty winds. Landfall, which is not officially declared until half the eye comes ashore, is expected any time. Social

media posts showed white-topped waves rushing across streets and trees whipping in the wind. At 8 a.m., Irma was located 20 miles southeast of Key West, with sustained winds still reaching 130 mph, National Hurricane Center forecasters said. Irma’s eye should move over the Lower Keys shortly, forecasters said, before the storm rolls up Florida’s Gulf Coast. READ MORE