Updated 1:20 PM ET, Thu October 11, 2018
(CNN)What used to be a gorgeous beachfront city now looks like an apocalyptic mess after Hurricane Michael shredded Mexico Beach, Florida.
“Mexico Beach was wiped out,” said Brock Long, head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency. “That’s probably ground zero.”
Michael made landfall Wednesday near Mexico Beach as monstrous Category 4 hurricane, annihilating homes with its 155-mph winds.
“First the cars started (floating) by, and all the debris was in the air,” Mexico Beach resident Scott said. “When the water came in, houses started floating in front of our home.”
He spoke with CNN’s Brooke Baldwin live on air Thursday, in front of a home that was pushed onto its side.
“All the homes that are on this side of the road at the beach, they’re all gone,” Scott said.
“When we got back to the house … we had furniture in our house that wasn’t our furniture. The surge had brought stuff in so bad, the walls collapsed — the only thing I could find of ours was my briefcase.
“Our lives are gone here, all the stores all the restaurants, everything, there’s nothing left here anymore.”
Other catastrophic scenes are emerging across the Florida Panhandle, where Michael left more than 350,000 without power and entire neighborhoods in ruins.
In the decimated city of Callaway, pieces of obliterated houses litter rain-drenched roads. Every telephone pole in sight has snapped in half.
“It’s very hard to explain,” said Jason Gunderson, a member of the Cajun Navy rescue group. “The only way I can explain it, through my eyeballs, is a Third World country war zone.”
The storm has already killed a man in Florida and a girl in Georgia. And as rescue workers sift through the debris Thursday, many fear the death toll will rise.
After slamming Florida and lashing Georgia, Michael is now threatening the storm-weary Carolinas. Tornadoes, dangerous winds and more flooding are possible in many of the same areas still recovering from Hurricane Florence.