MiamiHerald / While most of the attention in the days following Hurricane Irma’s battering of the island chain focused on the Middle and Lower Keys, the pile of splinters and rubble that was left of Snappers Oceanfront Restaurant and Bar in Key Largo was repeatedly shown as proof that the the Upper Keys, too, took an overwhelming beating from the Category 4 storm last month.

The popular – and fair to say iconic – watering hole and eatery off mile marker 94.5 was so badly damaged by Irma’s surge that veteran CNN correspondent Bill Weir said in his post-storm report that the sight of the devastation at the establishment where he had just been days earlier had “shaken me unlike anything” he’d seen in his 25 years of reporting.

Docks were smashed. Seawalls buckled. The famous Turtle Club outdoor bar was gone and the inside restaurant was flooded with four feet of surge and sometimes waves as high as 10 feet, said owner Peter Althuis.

“The whole kitchen and all the equipment were completely wiped out,” Althuis said. “The force of nature is incredible.”

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