FORT MYERS, Fla. – Shreds of wood are scattered along the coastline where homes once were as roads look like rivers and boats in mangroves.
Hurricane Ian caused historic damage to southwest Florida, decimating anything in its path and leaving countless people with nothing.
Lee County Sheriff Carmine Marceno flew over the damage Thursday, a day after the catastrophic Category 4 storm with 150 mph winds made landfall near Cayo Costa. Those winds pushed water from the Gulf of Mexico ashore, flooding homes and washing away roads needed to access the beachfront locales.
The coastlines got hit very hard, including Fort Myers Beach, the Pine Island area and the barrier islands.
"The devastation is beyond words. No words."
"All the people that can move mountains have been here in this big cohesive team to make sure that we get out there and protect the people that need us, and we serve," he said. "And and to make sure that if someone's in need, we're going to be there."
The New Yorker was transplanted to Florida over 20 years ago. He's been through hurricanes before, but this one in particular was different.
"This rocked us. This is devastating," he said.
With more than 1,200 square miles of spanning damage throughout different parts of Lee County, there are no words for Marceno to describe what he has witnessed.
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"Your heart goes out to those that are in need right now," he said. "The devastation is beyond words. No words. It just makes your heart just drop, and you feel so bad for some of the people."
Ian exited Florida on Thursday before making a run at the South Carolina coast, where it made landfall Friday as a Category 1 hurricane with 85 mph winds.
About two dozen deaths have been reported as crews make their way through homes in Ian's path that were left in shambles.
On Friday, Marceno told FOX News' Trace Gallagher on "The Story" that he's not certain of what the total number of fatalities are going to be in Lee County, but there have been confirmed 21 deaths. Five appear to be non-storm related.
Sanibel Island, which is part of Lee County, was hit hard by Hurricane Ian with the main road leading to the island being heavily damaged. City officials said that two people were killed on the island during the storm and 12 others were injured. Mayor Holly Smith said that about 200 households did not evacuate, and search teams are still determining the status of people in those homes.
Officials said nearly 3,800 people sought refuge from Ian in the 15 shelters opened in the county.
Marceno said his county has everything that we need and now getting out there to put it into action.
"The great state of Florida is tough," he said. "We took a hit. We're going to get back up. We're going to be stronger than ever. It's just going to take a little bit of time."