St. George Island, a popular vacation destination, was among the areas in northern Florida hammered by Hurricane Michael's heavy rains and powerful winds Wednesday.
Emergency responders could not contact the roughly 50 people who stayed on St. George Island despite evacuation orders as the storm approached.
A National Ocean Service station in nearby Apalachicola recorded a water level of nearly 8 feet above ground level. That's more than a foot higher than the surge from Hurricane Dennis in 2005.
Danny Getter, who rode out the storm with his wife and kids and other families at their house on Fourth Street in Apalachicola, said it will be some time before the area, including Eastpoint and St. George, can recover.
“Absolutely devastating," he said. "It’s going to take months ... before they get some kind of normalcy. Jesus."
Reporters TaMaryn Waters and Karl Etters contributed to this report.