Residents of Perdido Key off the coast of Florida's western Panhandle got their first look Monday at what Hurricane Ivan did to their homes and businesses last week.
Many older properties are wrecked. Roofs and walls are blown away, exposing furnishings inside.
For many there is good news. High-rises and newer homes built to tougher codes suffered little or no apparent damage. In some cases the high-rises sheltered homes from 130 mile per hour winds and a storm surge of up to 16 feet.
Hundreds of people boarded buses that took them across the only bridge linking Perdido Key, which means “Lost Key” in Spanish, to the mainland west of Pensacola. Some had waited for hours in a grocery store parking lot waiting for their turn.
The buses ran a round-Robin route, dropping people off and picking them up again after they had a chance to examine their properties and take photos. They were not allowed to bring back anything except small keepsakes.