'Seen Nothing Like It': Floridians Pick Up the Pieces After Hurricane Ian

"It's kind of hard to talk about because we don't have a place to go," Michelle Reidy of Iona, Florida, told AccuWeather on Thursday—one day after Category 4 Hurricane Ian crashed into southwestern Florida with a maximum sustained speed of 150 mph, causing utter devastation.

Reidy is one of the longtime residents of the Iona community, which is about 12 miles away from Fort Myers. She said she has never experienced or seen a hurricane like Ian.

"Our families have lost everything," Reidy said, her voice almost breaking. "There is, I can tell you, a boat sitting almost like in our apartment. It's all underwater."

Hurricane Ian
Xavier Pinero and his cat are evacuated from the island by boat on October 02, 2022, in Pine Island, Florida. Residents are being encouraged to leave because the only road onto the island is impassable and electricity and water remain knocked out after Hurricane Ian passed through the area. Getty Images/Joe Raedle

As the hurricane thrashed the area, destructive storm surges wreaked havoc on parts of southwestern Florida. Reidy noted that the storm surge left behind 6-to-8-foot-high water lines on her walls.

"It's very sad. I know that there were people screaming for help and people still on roofs," Reidy said.

Along with her son, her grandson, and her blow-up canoe, Reidy said she was fortunate enough to be able to wade in and recover some personal belongings—even saving a few family members.

"We waded in through the water, and we were able to get our canoe to get a few things out and save our cats," she said. Still, Reidy explained that she doesn't know what is next for her and her family—a sentiment that was echoed by others who spoke with AccuWeather and asked where one even starts when beginning to pick up the pieces of a monster storm like Hurricane Ian.

Hurricane Ian
Residents are evacuated from the island by boats on October 02, 2022 in Pine Island, Florida. Residents are being encouraged to leave because the only road onto the island is impassable and electricity and water remain knocked out after Hurricane Ian passed through the area. Joe Raedle/Getty Images

In San Carlos Island, Florida, AccuWeather National Weather Reporter Bill Wadell interviewed Johnny Two Feathers, who had also stayed at home during the storm and experienced chest-deep water levels on his second floor.

"This is the worst hurricane I have ever been in, and I have been in like five or six of them," Two Feathers said in an interview Thursday.

Water came right through his wall, leaving a hole and two busted windows, Two Feathers said, still looking stunned by Wednesday's events.

Wadell reported that the city had no running water, little to no cellphone service, and still no power, meaning people were fully dependent on batteries or generators to keep some lights on at night.

But, there were some silver linings even in the darkness following the destructive hurricane.

In Fort Myers, Lewis McDonald had anchored his boat in a port ahead of the hurricane. Preparing for the worst, he ended up being pleasantly surprised by what he found in the aftermath.

"In '95, my father and I built the MacAttack, and God spared us," he said before his voice broke. "Because when it broke free, it went all the way over there with the mangroves, and it settled down."

McDonald believes his physical possession with the most emotional significance has a chance to keep the legacy alive after some repairs.

"It's special because my father and I built the boat, and then he died of cancer," McDonald said. "So, it's special."

Produced in association with AccuWeather.

This story was provided to Newsweek by Zenger News.