Chokoloskee and Everglades City, two fishing villages-turned-travel-destinations that sit next to each other on the cusp of Everglades National Park and the Gulf of Mexico, have seen more than their share of hurricane destruction — most recently Donna in 1960, Wilma in 2005, and then Irma in 2017 and Ian in 2022.

Irma bludgeoned the towns with 110 mph winds and 5 feet of storm surge. The storm also picked up mud out of thousands of mangrove creeks in the Everglades and deposited up to 20 inches of it in town, covering streets, playing fields and the interior of homes and hotel rooms.

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