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What's left of two houses sits in the middle of a main road. Other houses have landed in a parking lot. Piled debris made it impossible to discern where the pieces stood Wednesday morning — before Hurricane Michael ravaged the small coastal city of Mexico Beach, Florida.
The area is largely inaccessible due to damaged roadways and bridges, but drone footage shows a startling bird's-eye glimpse of the destruction Michael caused when it made landfall near Mexico Beach on Wednesday, packing winds of 155 mph — just shy of a Category 5 hurricane.
Along a canal and the beach, foundations mark where homes once stood. Save for a few shells of houses that somehow withstood the storm, this part of the oceanfront neighborhood has been flattened.
Boats once docked in the canal have been pushed far up onto the land, and much of what would normally be on land floats in the canal.
Homes slightly farther inland built on stilts, presumably as a form of protection against flooding, are toppled off their platforms. Some still have their roofs.
Florida Gov. Rick Scott said Thursday morning that 20 people were rescued overnight from this waterfront city of about 1,000, and they were "not injured or in distress."
Scott told people who live on the coast not to try to get back and to stay off the roads. An 80-mile stretch of Interstate 10, which weaves through the Panhandle, was closed so crews could clear debris, according to the Florida Highway Patrol. Many more roads were not officially closed, but impassable.
"I know you just want to go home, check on things and begin the recovery process. We are working as quickly as possible to make that happen," Scott said. "We have to make sure things are safe."
Two people have been killed in the storm. A man was killed when a tree fell on a residence in Greensboro, Florida, and an 11-year-old girl was killed near Lake Seminole, Georgia, when a wind-lifted metal carport used for boats crashed through the roof of a house and struck her in the head.
More than 850,000 customers in the two states were without power Thursday.
"So many lives have been changed forever. So many families have lost everything. Homes are gone businesses are gone," Scott said. "This hurricane was an absolute monster. And the damage left in its wake is still yet to be fully understood."