Dan Allers is a councillor in Fort Myers Beach, south-west Florida – one of the worst affected areas hit by the storm.
Speaking to the BBC, he says he estimates that the area saw a 12 to 14ft (3.5-4m) storm surge with “excessive” winds.
“To say it’s devastation would be a severe understatement. Just watching people’s belongings and homes and things float by – it was a very tough scene to witness,” he says.
Allers says he is from the Midwest and has experienced several tornados. “If you can imagine multiplying one by 100, and having it sustained for about 12 hours – and adding the water rush in at 14ft, that gives you just a little bit of a glimpse as to what it was like,” he says.
“I’ve just got off the phone with the fire chief for our area. In his words, he said to use the word ‘catastrophic’ would be a severe understatement. We have lost most of our entertainment district, many, many businesses, many, many homes. They’re starting the search-and-rescue efforts as we speak,” he adds.
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