Helicopter footage of Florida’s Mexico Beach shows the devastating disarray and destruction wrought by Hurricane Michael.
The storm, then a category 4 hurricane with 155 mph winds, made landfall near Mexico Beach on Wednesday, which is home to 1,200 people, CNN reported. In the video, posted by a storm chaser on WX Chasing, the debris of houses is strewn across the ground, structures are leveled or have sunk into the water, boats are dislodged, trees are damaged and roads are obstructed.
The footage also captures emergency responders clearing rubble off of the road. The caption reads, “Some of the worst damage I’ve ever seen.”
At a press conference recorded by the Associated Press, Gov. Rick Scott said on Thursday that the Florida National Guard entered Mexico Beach on Wednesday night and “made contact with about 20 residents that thankfully were not injured or in distress.”
The area is widely inaccessible because of the damage, NBC News reported.
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Scott commented, “This morning, Florida’s Gulf Coast, Panhandle, and Big Bend are waking up to unimaginable destruction. So many lives have been changes forever. So many families have lost everything. Homes are gone. Businesses are gone. Roads and infrastructure along the storm’s path have been destroyed. This hurricane was an absolute monster, and the damage left in its wake is still yet to be fully understood.”
“Mexico Beach was wiped out,” Brock Long, the head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, told CNN. “That’s probably ground zero.”
Sen. Bill Nelson said, according to CNN, “You are going to see a lot of destruction when the rescue crews get into Mexico Beach. … That’s where you’re going to see the extreme, extreme devastation.”
“We had furniture in our house that wasn’t even ours,” Mexico Beach resident Scott Boutwell told CNN.
“When the water came in, houses started floating in front of our home,” he said. “And then once you seen that, then everything just went black. You couldn’t see anything anywhere.”
“This was never in our imagination,” Boutwell added. “All the stores, all the restaurants, everything — there’s nothing left here anymore.”
“This is total devastation,” Patricia Mulligan, another local, told CNN. “We didn’t think it was going to be this bad.”
The hurricane killed at least two people, an 11-year-old girl in Seminole County, Georgia, and a man in his mid-40s in Greensboro, Florida. They died when trees fell on a mobile home and a house, respectively.
Michael has weakened to a tropical storm and is now threatening parts of North Carolina, South Carolina and southeastern Virginia with flash flooding, according to the National Hurricane Center.