Wilma makes landfall 22 miles south of Naples as Category 3 storm

Live from Germain Arena

Hurricane Wilma made landfall this morning in south Collier County as a Category 3 storm, knocking out power and ending a weeklong journey through the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico.

The storm made landfall at about 6:30 a.m. near Cape Romano, which is 22 miles south of Naples.

Early reports as Hurricane Wilma continued to hit Collier County suggested the northern and eastern parts of the county will survive with minimal storm surge.

Collier Emergency Management Director Dan Summers said reports he has received so far indicate that North Naples, the City of Naples and East Naples have received almost no storm surge.

Marco Island has received storm surge. Summers said a portion of Collier Boulevard on the southern part of Marco Island is under 1 to 2 feet of water. The storm also knocked out power on the island.

The biggest question mark is now Everglades City, which took the brunt of the storm. Summers this morning said he hadn't received reports from the city and the southern part of Collier County is his biggest concern regarding storm surge.

As Summers spoke, the Collier Emergency Operations Center remained in lockdown with the doors shut and storm shutters locked. Rain could be heard hitting the windows outside.

Hurricane-force winds, which are at least 74 mph, extended 90 miles from the storm's center as it made landfall. Tropical storm-force winds extended about 230 miles, forecasters said.

Close to 7,000 people sought refuge in Collier shelters.

In Lee County, more than 5,000 people sought shelter at Germain Arena, many of whom peered out the windows of the arena to look at heavy rain and wind.

Lights flickered at Germain this morning, then power went out after about 6:30 a.m. A few lights lit the concourse area but the floor of the arena was nearly in the dark.

The outage occurred as many of the people seeking cover at Germain were in line for breakfast. Several people were walking around the arena with flashlights in hand.

At about 3 a.m., a woman who was experiencing contractions went into labor at the arena. The woman, who remained calm, was taken to the hospital. The woman didn't give birth at the arena.

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