''They're getting clobbered all the way up the Keys,'' Wagner said.
He also said flooding in Marathon was worse than during Hurricane Georges, which pounded its way through the Florida Keys in 1998.
In Miami-Dade, the wind and rain compelled authorities to close the Rickenbacker Causeway between the mainland and Key Biscayne, except for emergency vehicle, though even they were affected by Wilma.
The county's fire and emergency vehicles stopped responding to 911 calls shortly after 6 a.m. -- standard procedure when winds begin reaching hurricane strength.
Emergency calls ''will be handled on a case by case basis,'' said Cynthia Martinez, spokeswoman for Miami-Dade's office of emergency management.
''The wind is just too strong and too dangerous,'' she said.
In Sunny Isles Beach, the wind rattled windows, bent palms trees and bounce electric wires. Police on the Bravo portion of an emergency Alpha/Bravo shift monitored events from their station.
''All we know is what we see on the TV,'' said Sgt. Edward Santiago. ``It's just too dangerous out there.''
A massive storm tide -- up to 18 feet -- occurred along the Gulf Coast in south Collier County. Roads to Marco Island, Everglades City and Chokoloskee are believed to be flooded.
Forecasters warned that some causeways in Miami-Dade could be flooded by three to five feet of water later this morning.
Around the region:
Some parts of Key West were believed to be under at least four feet of water, with at least 30 percent of the city severely flooded, but officials could not get outside to accurately assess the situation.
''There is flooding in New Town. The worst is by the high school,'' said Michael Haskins, a spokesman for the city.
Power was out in Key West and other areas of the Keys and parts of U.S. 1 and other roads were believed to be impassable. A water main break in Key West sharply reduced water pressure and triggered concerns over water quality.
Officials at Monroe's primary Emergency Operations Center in Marathon and the EOC in Key West were operating on generator power. Cell service was out in many areas.
Power lines sparked a fire at the home of county Administrator Tom Willi on Summerland Key, but firefighters were not yet able to respond to the scene because of weather conditions.
Also in the Keys, waves of water turned parts of Marathon into mammoth pools.
At the Pelican Motel Trailer Park, three cars were completely submerged, and water had risen almost to the halfway point of most trailer homes.
''It's amazing,'' said Steve Ferrise. ``It happened so fast -- in just 15 minutes.''
Because the water shorted out so many electrical wires in nearby cars, even submerged and empty vehicles had windshield wipers and alarms going off, on their own.
In Naples, just north of the point of landfall, blasts of wind brought down stoplights, picked apart a few trailers and sent one garden shed skittering over U.S. 41.
Sheets of peeled-off aluminum siding flew through the air. Some trees toppled and palm fronds littered the streets.
In Fort Myers, a little farther north, curtains of rain lashed the area, flooding parking lots and invading low-lying buildings.
The roof at one Lee County Fire Department station lifted off, and Lehigh Regional Medical Center was forced to move patients into different rooms when wind damaged the roof, said David Kainrad, a spokesman for the Lee County Emergency Operations Center.
Nearly 400,000 homes were without power in the region.
In Immokalee, a rural town about 20 miles from Naples that is heavily populated by migrant workers, there were reports of ramshackle trailers being knocked down, something community leaders feared and expected.
Thousands of illegal workers live in substandard trailers there, and though labor advocates prowled the streets with passengers vans and bullhorns until shortly before midnight Sunday, not everyone could be coaxed out, said Melody Gonzalez of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers.
By one estimate, only half of the people living in the trailers sought safe shelter.
At least 2,000 flights have been canceled into and out of South Florida's three major airports, and normal service may not resume until mid-week.
Hurricane Wilma could hold up travelers another day.
The airport that locals so often criticize was one of the few places they could find the basics: working toilets, a cash machine, electrical outlets and food.