MEXICO BEACH, FL (CNN) – Hurricane Michael has obliterated entire neighborhoods in the Florida Panhandle.
It was the strongest storm to hit the continental U.S. in more than 20 years.
And now much of Mexico Beach is gone.
While most of the 1,200 residents evacuated, some stayed behind.
The number of survivors from the near-direct hit from Michael is still unknown.
Scott Boutwell is one of the residents who didn’t make it out in time. He became stuck when the bridges closed.
“The thing is, you know, this is a small little town," he said. "And so, every restaurant’s gone, every store’s gone, and then all of my neighbors – everybody’s home is gone. When you think about it, you know, all their lives are gone. What do you do?”
Boutwell said he lost most of his possessions, but he’ll stay and rebuild.
Many survivors said they were simply grateful to be alive.
As three friends searched for one of their homes, they said it was hard to even recognize the street it was on.
One woman named Sherri said she didn’t have time to grab anything but some clothes and her jewelry box.
"I can't describe it. It's terrible. I just can't describe the feeling, and I know I'm not the only one here that feels the same. They’ve lost everything," she said.
Mexico Beach is virtually cut off from the rest of the state.
Though emergency crews are working throughout the area, roads are still blocked, power is out and cell service is nonexistent.
Search and rescue operations are still underway throughout the areas impacted by the hurricane.
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