Arizona responders work on areas hit by Harvey then Irma

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Phoenix firefighters working in Texas after Hurricane Harvey. (Sourve: 3TV/CBS 5 News) Phoenix firefighters working in Texas after Hurricane Harvey. (Sourve: 3TV/CBS 5 News)
Emergency responders work during Hurricane Harvey. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5 News) Emergency responders work during Hurricane Harvey. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5 News)
Hurricane Irma emergency responders. (Source: 3TV / CBS 5 News) Hurricane Irma emergency responders. (Source: 3TV / CBS 5 News)
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -

Thousands of flights nationally are cancelled, and officials report 25 are into and out of Phoenix Sky Harbor, all thanks to hurricane Irma.

As of Monday afternoon, most of the airports in Florida are still closed. Even with all that, the silver lining is that first-responders are reporting damage in Florida isn't as bad as what was seen in Texas from Hurricane Harvey.

[RELATED: Harvey and Irma deliver one-two punch to battered flood insurance program]

Arizona Task Force One, a group of 80 firefighters from Phoenix, was on the front lines of devastating flooding in Texas, shortly after category 4 Hurricane Harvey made landfall on August 25th.

"Folks had been under eight, ten feet of water. Their homes had literally been destroyed. You could barely see the tops of street signs," said Jay Strebeck, deputy chief of Phoenix Fire Department.

[RELATED: SCAM ALERT: Beware of Harvey-damaged cars coming to Arizona]

Strebeck was one of those responders who, for more than a week, rescued trapped residents and offered any help he could.

On the heels of Harvey, monstrous Hurricane Irma developed. Once again, FEMA called upon Strebeck and the rest of Arizona Task Force One to deploy.

[RELATED: Irma and Harvey together will be as expensive as Hurricane Katrina]

"We are headed towards Naples. We spent the night in Orlando, in the convention center, kind of hunkered down, waiting for the storm to go by," said Strebeck.

Despite Irma significantly weakening, the effects were still felt by Strebeck and the convoy Monday afternoon.

"It's really windy. This box truck is about 13 feet high, and I'm behind another box truck. You can see a lot of swaying and motion. There's a lot of trees down. You can tell there's been a lot of water here," said Strebeck.

Officials report power was knocked out to nearly 2 million people in Florida, but thankfully, so far, Irma's wrath wasn't as severe as expected.

"The people seem to be in good spirits. There doesn't seem to be a ton of damage. It wouldn't be much more than I would expect from one of our high end monsoons, actually," said Strebeck.

As the crew makes a better assessment of the region during their drive, they're also reflecting on where their past deployments have taken them.

"It is a little eerie to be on 9-11, on another deployment. After having been to the 9-11 towers deployment 16 years ago, it's a little bit odd, ironic perhaps, a little surreal to be doing the same thing," said Strebeck.

The task force expects to return to Arizona in a week. Meanwhile, some Florida airports will reopen tomorrow. Sky Harbor is urging travelers to check their flight status before coming to the airport.

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