SUNRISE (CBSMiami) – Some the initial images emerging of powerful Hurricane Michael’s impact on parts of the Florida Panhandle on Wednesday show the destructive force of the storm.
The storm mangled buildings, toppled trees and covered roads in water.
Power lines were knocked down and heavy rains and fierce winds blanketed the area.
In Port St. Joe, a city not far from Tallahassee, the storm surge pushed inland.
Some of the most devastating pictures came from the tiny city of Mexico Beach — southeast of Panama City.
Mexico Beach is a community of about 1,200 people and city leaders say about a quarter of them chose to ride out the storm in the area.
“We had about 280 residents who made the decision not to evacuate,” said Mexico Beach Administrator Tanya Castor. “We’ve begun search and rescue efforts. I don’t have exact numbers at this point but those efforts are underway.”
The pictures are grim and city leaders say it might be a while before they know the extent of the damage.
“We just need people to be patient,” Castor said. “Don’t try to get back into your homes until we give the word that it’s all clear to come back.”