MEXICO BEACH, Fla. — The damage left by Hurricane Michael in Mexico Beach, Fla., is overwhelming. The storm’s 155 mph winds shredded homes, and a 14-foot storm surge bulldozed everything in its path.
“I am totally shocked what this has done to our entire town,” said Mayor Al Cathey.
Cathey has lived in Mexico Beach for 65 years. Now, he barely recognizes his hometown.
Crews are slowly starting to pick up the pieces.
During a tour with the mayor, he had to borrow a satellite phone from CBS News to make a call to get supplies.
The city’s water supply is safe. But with heavy damage to the main power lines, he said residents will not have basic needs for a long time. He estimates it could be two months before power is restored.
It’s not only clean-up, but clean-out is also a top priority in Mexico Beach. Crews are moving debris that is blocking one of the main roads in and out of the city, and they’re cleaning it out for first responders and emergency crews.
Like hundreds of people, Morales is sleeping in his badly damaged home. He tried to ride the storm out but his house started floating away.
“At one moment it became so high that it got about five feet of water inside the house,” Morales said.
The U.S. Army veteran spotted his neighbors stranded in a tree and managed to get them safely onto a boat. His daughter also made it through the storm in Port St. Joe. She had just moved to Florida from Puerto Rico after surviving Hurricane Maria.
Morales still considers himself lucky.
“Very lucky to be able to save my life and help some people too,” Morales said.