Lynn Haven, Florida
12:38 P.M. CDT
Q Mr. President, what struck you in the aerial tour? What did you see?
THE PRESIDENT: Hard to believe. I’ve seen pictures. But it’s hard to believe. When you’re above it, in a plane, and to see the total devastation, to see no houses left. Not even the pads are left. It’s incredible.
And I have to say that the work that FEMA, first responders, local government, law enforcement is doing is incredible. You just saw Michael, who actually was about the only person in this area that rode it out. He said he’s never been so scared in his life. But it’s — he’s never seen power like this; trees coming down left and right.
To see this, personally, it’s very tough. Very, very tough. Total devastation.
This is the Mayor, by the way. Come on over here. Come.
MAYOR ANDERSON: Mr. President, when the storm hit, the police and first responders and myself, and our city manager, we were in the city hall and police annex, and you’ll see we walked that far. It literally collapsed around us. And it lasted 55 minutes, and they said it was the equivalent of a 40-mile-wide EF-3 tornado, for 55 minutes.
THE PRESIDENT: That’s what it seems like to me. It seemed almost like a giant tornado — a really wide tornado — which is incredible.
ADMINISTRATOR LONG: It was big. It was big. Not quite as big as Irma, but it was big.
MAYOR ANDERSON: It was huge.
ADMINISTRATOR LONG: And it came fast, and it grew fast. And it got to almost a Category 5.
THE PRESIDENT: More powerful in the winds.
MAYOR ANDERSON: At midnight, I got on, like, the live Facebook page, and started talking to the people. And I said, “You still have time. It’s not going to be here until 8 o’clock. Get in your car and drive 150 miles north or west.” And I believe a lot of them did. We had no casualties in this town. It’s amazing.
12:40 P.M. CDT