It hurricane category 4 destroying part of the Sanibel Causeway, the only way in and out of the island. Rescues over the weekend still happen only by boat or helicopter.
Not far from Sanibel are other barrier islands such as Matlacha, also cut off by drifting roads and bridges. Some houses were even swallowed up by the storm surge.
Doug and Melissa Hoover’s house in Matlacha is gone, as if it had never been there in the first place.
“We thought that at least if the house was injured, our seawall would still be there. We still have a swimming pool. We can rebuild. We don’t expect most of our land to be lost too,” said Melissa Hoover.
The small island community is home to about 800 people, many of whom are now homeless with most of the island destroyed or still underwater.
The Kathleen Meyerson house she’s owned for the last two decades is still standing, but it’s covered in thick mud from a few feet of flooding.
“The devastation that came here by boat on the water’s edge was much worse than anyone could see from an aerial view, so it was absolutely devastating,” Meyerson said.
We meet Melissa Kalbacher as she retrieves the last of her belongings from her home, heading for the destroyed island.
“Hopefully they can rebuild. I mean you hear all kinds of stories they might curse, but hopefully they can build it up to this ancient and adorable community,” Kalbacher said.
But rebuilding will definitely be difficult. Some people in Matlacha and nearby Pine Island, Bokeelia and St. James City felt they had been forgotten after the storm. They say right now, they want the damaged road repaired so they can start cleaning up and hope to restore their island community.