MARCO ISLAND (CBSMiami) — From 500 feet in the air, parts of Marco Island on the Southwest Florida coast look like a disaster zone. Heavy rain from Hurricane Irma turned a neighborhood of mobile homes into a lake.
“Yeah looks like there’s was like a boat lift or something that went low,” described CBS reporter Carter Evans. “Oh yeah there’s some destroyed houses.”
Evans surveyed the area with members of the U.S. Coast Guard 2 days after Irma made landfall in Marco Island as a category 3 hurricane.
135 miles per hour winds ripped roof tiles and siding off of homes.
Evans saw collapsed decks, pool screens ripped apart and crushed docks along the water from the powerful storm surge.
Authorities are just starting to allow residents to return to their homes but a strict curfew does remain in effect.
People are being asked to stay in their homes during the day so emergency crews can access the area.
Evans spotted some people standing in their backyard. As he flew over, they waved and looked alright.
Other damage includes damaged scaffolding on buildings under construction and along the coastline, damaged and sinking boats dot the mangrove-lined channels.
The Coast Guard’s next job will be to clear out those boats to ensure safe passage in the waterways.
Despite taking a direct hit, the island appears to have escaped some of the major damage feared by officials. A 10- to 15-foot storm surge that was predicted did not materialize; Marco Island Fire Rescue Chief Mike Murphy said the storm surge was between 3 and 4 feet.
Most of Marco Island’s landmarks survived the storm.
City Hall, which has exterior walls composed almost entirely of glass, was not damaged except for large uprooted trees in the parking lot, according to the Naples Daily News.
Mackle Park and its new community center had no apparent structural damage, just downed trees and areas of standing water.
Both the JW Marriott Marco Island Beach Resort and the Marco Island Hilton Beach Resort and Spa also appeared to have escaped the worst of the storm.