Reporter's Notebook: Inside the eerie calm of Hurricane Irma's eye

The heavy rains and winds stilled, bringing an eerie calm.

ByABC News
September 10, 2017, 6:43 PM

— -- ABC News producer Kaitlyn Folmer is covering Hurricane Irma in Naples, Florida. Below, she describes her experience inside the powerful storm's eye.

4:30 p.m.

Our truck operator Bob McHenry and I had been tracking Hurricane Irma, anxiously awaiting the eye's arrival in the city of Naples.

A group of us were huddled in the dark lobby of the Inn of Naples, one candle burning, headlamps shining, as the winds from the innermost wall of Irma whipped around our five-story hotel, creating blizzard-like whiteout conditions -- only with rain -- and yes, that freight train sound that only the highest of winds can deliver.

5:02 p.m.

The eye didn't bring an immediate cessation of winds and rain, but within minutes, I could open the door and walk outside without fear of being blown away.

The first thing I noticed was that the trees were no longer dangerously swaying to the point of breaking. The previously heavy rain was now just a light drizzle, and for a few moments, it even stopped altogether.

It was the silence that was most stunning, followed by birds chirping, singing so loud it was all I could hear. It was an eerie calm unlike anything I've ever experienced.

PHOTO: Photos out of Naples, Fla., depict a calm scene while in the eye of Hurricane Irma on Sunday afternoon.
Photos out of Naples, Fla., depict a calm scene while in the eye of Hurricane Irma on Sunday afternoon.

Slowly, other hotel patrons and members of the ABC News team trickled out, reminiscent of a final scene in a Roland Emmerich film.

We saw people walking their dogs and at least half a dozen cars driving down streets that were impassable merely moments ago. Others came out to survey the damage -- one of our producers lost their rental car to a fallen tree. And in the spirit of the modern age, plenty of selfies were taken.

5:55 p.m.

About an hour later, the winds started to pick up again, as well as the rain. Bob is uplinking our satellite truck in time for "World News Tonight," before the winds again become too strong for the dish.

My first time ever in the eye of a hurricane can only be described as an almost religious experience, with Mother Nature making us stop and recognize the awesome (in the formal sense) power that she possesses, before she once again unleashes the fury of Irma's second act.

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